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1st April 2020

MANIFF 2020: Short Film Session 2

Manchester Film Festival 2020’s Narrative Shorts 2 were political, satirical and, at times, heartwarming, writes Harley Weng U Pun
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MANIFF 2020: Short Film Session 2
Photo: MANIFF

The second session of Narrative Shorts during Manchester Film Festival 2020 were political, satirical and, at times, heartwarming.

The Snatcher

The Snatcher is set a few years from now in a post-Brexit, Trump-dominated dystopia. Two families gamble all their worldly possessions for a better life – one for fun and the other for healthcare.

Heavy topics such as immigration, growing health concerns, and the banning of certain religious faiths in this dystopia are struck up through the questions, and contrast powerfully with the game-show setting.

The film is brilliant, providing convincing speculation on a dystopian world which is eerily familiar to ours and warning against our steady decline to greed and hatred towards one another.

This is English

This is English is a tongue-in-cheek documentary about a group of grammar enthusiasts consisted of middle-aged burly men who are militant in the up-keeping of perfect grammar in society. The film incited the most laughter out of all the others which was well-deserved.

Othello

Othello transforms the original play into a contemporary setting, focusing on a young black woman in a society saturated with masculine ideals. The film focuses a lot on the sensory aspect – there is not a lot of dialogue – instead, the attention is on immersive sound and stunning visuals. Overall it is beautiful to look at, but the narrative arc and the roles of the characters are not very clear.

Sweepers

Sweepers is a heartwarming, but predictable, romantic film. The highlight was a hilarious montage as the protagonist, a maintenance man, tries to learn how to curl with a broom and a bucket in order to gain the attention of a pretty curling player.

Bad Assistant

Bad Assistant was about an obnoxious actor who gets his assistant to aid him in the cover-up of his best friend’s death. The dialogue was unrealistic and cringe-worthy at times and it was hard to be invested in either character.

Nico

Nico attempted to explore the guilt, anger and sadness surrounding a friend’s death as a group of teenagers embark on a road trip to his funeral. The snippets of conversation skirted around the heavy topic which effectively built up the underlying tension. However, the conflict erupted quite quickly and as a result the ending was not as powerful as it could have been.


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