Talking Pictures

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Posted by keith1942 on May 2, 2012

UK 2011. Director: Michael van der Put. Colour, 14 minutes

This was another film featured in the Bradford Film Festival New Shorts. Callum is a teenage school student whose girlfriend Joanna has been killed at a local train station, Honor Oak Park. The setting is London though I think the station name is fictitious. The film shows up Callum’s grief over the incident, using a fairly intricate set of cuts between the present and flashbacks to the night of the incident. However, Callum is also caught in a moral bind and subject to violent pressure from a group of young men who were involved. So the film charts his grief but also his struggle to face up to responsibility.

The film clearly aims to deal with the topical issue of London teen gangs. It draws a fairly stark contrast between the uniform clothed school students and the far more informally dressed gang members. Both school and gang are multi-racial; this is about the teen world and its separation from the world of adults. The contrast is emphasised by the brief cameo of Callum’s father, depicted as authoritarian and unsympathetic. The local woman police constable is a far more empathetic character.

The camera work and editing is well done and maintains a definite rhythm. However, the narrative does become rather predictable. The gang in particular is rather stereotypical and the resolution is fairly obvious before we reach it.


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