Louis Le Prince International Short Film Competition

Say Nothing (No Digas Nada), production still.

Say Nothing (No Digas Nada), production still.

Over the next few days the Hyde Park Picture House is hosting three parts of the Leeds International Film Festival Short City programme: including the above, and the Yorkshire Short Film and the British Short Film Competitions. The selection was nicely programmed, bookended by two films all in 1.85:1 and a filling of two films in 1.37:1. And the programme still maintained a thematic continuity.

Art (Arta, Romania, 2013 – 19 minutes) featured two filmmakers auditioning a young girl for a short film with risqué content. It nicely satirised a sector of cinema and a certain dubious approach to moral content. I did not find it that cinematic and it relied extensively on the dialogue.

Behind the Curtain (Verhon Takaa, Finland, 20214 – seven minutes) was set in a junior school. This was also in a sense about an audition, for a music teacher and for the tyro singer’s class mates. The treatment generated a playful treatment of an intimidating class experience. The young boys in the film were excellent, the teacher and class mates nicely observed. The director and scriptwriter, Teemu Nikki, based on a school memory from the 1980s.

The Noisemaker (Triukšmafarys, Lithuania and Sweden, 2014 – 15 minutes) was a sardonic take on schools and targets. The Principal and his caretaker or assistant prepare a failing junior school for inspection. Their tactics produced some nice gags. I did think that the film could have made more us of the assembled teachers, all women.

Say Nothing (No Digas Nada, Spain, 2014 – 14 minutes) was the film that I most enjoyed in the programme. Set in a house with a ‘threatened woman’ the film was full of skilful camera movements and fine use of chiaroscuro. It also presented one of the effective strategies for short film, subverting a genre.

II (Two, Germany and Greece, 2014 – 16 minutes). Set in a desolate desert setting with a tattered mobile bar, it was full of striking shots of characters and the setting. It was also extremely enigmatic. I was absorbed but also bemused: as seemed other audience members. I am hoping I can find someone to offer an explanation as the Catalogue only offered one slight clue.

Travellers into the Night (Reizigers in de Nacht, Netherlands 2013 – 10 minutes). Like two of the other films this subverted a stereotypical situation. It was nicely played and made good use of music, but it needed a little more development and substance.

It struck me after the full screening that the different films had enjoyed differing production values and that affected my responses. Say Nothing certainly looked and sounded the best. All of the films held my interest and the general production level was good or better.

I hope to see more from this competition so I can place them overall.

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