As we reach the end of BFI Flare, it is time to highlight the absolutely fantastic shorts that the festival had on offer. Throughout today we will be breaking down the seven categories and all of their films. Third, Into The Unknown, the blurred lines of love and friendship between women are explored in these poignant and beautiful short films.
The Cost of Living
Lily is stuck in a state of ennui until Death comes along in the form of a beautiful woman and entices her to live.
Alice Truemans, The Cost of Living, is most likely the most gorgeous looking short you will watch this year; each frame is filled with a style that you cannot help but fall in love with. Even when we witness Lily’s plain white and grey existence, each shot is framed to perfection with her apartment and workplace designed to within an inch of its life.
As Lily begins to embrace life, colour seeps into her world and, by proxy ours. Be it the club where she meets up with Death once more and begins to unfurl the tightness from within herself, to the end scene here, warmth has awoken a new version of herself. One where she finally feels comfortable with herself.
This is a genuinely great film and, without a doubt, one of the standouts from the entire festival. Now the festival is over, seek this film out however you can.
From A to Q
Figuring out you have feelings for your best friend is half the battle.
Who hasn’t had that dream of kissing someone from your class in high school? Now it may be a little less common if that person is your best friend who happens to be of the same sex as you. This is where we find Alex and Kayla stuck firmly in a sexual realisation that maybe, just maybe, boys aren’t the be-all and end-all.
What helps A to Q is that it doesn’t feel like the overly conventional coming out story; it feels more towards a teenager discovering herself. When her leaning to women is spoken about, she is reassured that she doesn’t have to label what she thinks she is or how she feels; it is an open circumstance that she has all the time to figure out. This is quite refreshing as, too often, labels are likened to be thrown at everything just so it has a label. Leaving little time for working on yourself.
Emmalie El Fadli takes a sensitive and careful approach to the subject and, by doing so, allows for her film to breathe organically as both of our characters work on themselves. From A to Q is an enjoyable movie that loosens the reigns on its genre’s formulaic nature.
Girls Shouldn’t Walk Alone at Night.
Stranded at a remote beach after a high school graduation party, friends Delphine and Chantal lay their feelings bare to each other.
This is a coming of age film that ticks all of the correct boxes and leaves its audience well satisfied. The chemistry from Amaryllis Tremblay and Nahéma Ricci is particularly strong, with both bouncing off one another’s fears and doubts effortlessly as we progress through the 17-minute runtime. We connect so easily with this duo that you can’t help but be annoyed that we only got such a short glimpse into their world.
Writer/director Katerine Martineau has created a wonderful world for us to jump straight into, and feel comfortable doing so is a testament to her talents. What warms the film so much is the warmth and excitement the characters encounter within themselves. There are a few awkwardly dark situations initially, but when our characters leave the world behind and stay with each other at the beach, all negativity dissipates.
In the end, we are left with a fantastic film that subtly does everything right without ever trying to hammer its point home.
Sometimes love just isn’t enough to hold two people together.
At a positively trim 4 minutes, Hello, Goodbye is a glimpse at the joys of new love and the utter devastation when it slowly begins to end. The ending is almost always longer than the beginning, and as we witness our two characters relationship implode, it all feels natural, far too real to handle. This is a terrific piece that perfectly encapsulates how relationships are not always made to last, no matter how perfect they seem.
Love is A Hand Grenade
Mixing drink, drugs and a friendship on eggshells was always an explosive mix in this bittersweet British mini-drama.
Sometimes alcohol can do strange things, it can open your inhibitions, or it can reveal something about you that you have been trying to repress. All of this comes crashing down on Gabby and Alexis as drunken temptation becomes too much as they give in to each other.
You may have been there yourself, finding yourself in bed with a best or close friend, and you will immediately have one of two feelings, joy at the door being opened or instant regret and shame. Love is a Hand Grenade takes the latter, and as the repressed Alexis tries to come to terms with what she has done and what it possibly means, not just for her friendship with Gabby, but with her fiancée Andy, the pain won’t be far behind. This intimate piece will feel all too familiar to some, and it is this sense of realism that allows the film to succeed as well as it does.
Virginia McKenna and Miriam Margolyes star as former Land Army Girls who reconnect in their twilight years.
Wings is an absolutely beautiful short that shows however long a time goes by, love will always be there if both parties want it to. As we see Audrey and Dora’s whirlwind love affair as Audrey’s husband is out fighting in the war, we are immediately soaked in their connection and relationship. Equally, we are heartbroken when Robert comes back (happy, of course, that he survived) as we know this spells the end of the affair.
Told almost entirely in a dialogue-free tone, we see the two connect again and, like our two leads, our hearts soar as they begin again. Getting a second more understanding chance at being together, acuminating in a truly remarkable scene. If there is a film to end your BFI Flare viewing experience with, it is this one.
To view more of our coverage of BFI Flare, please check out our other reviews below.
BFI Flare Shorts – Beginnings and Endings
BFI Flare Shorts – For The Record
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