Film Review: WE DID NOT FALL FROM THE SKY, UK, Experimental/Relationship

WE DID NOT FALL FROM THE SKY follows a handful of transgender individuals living within the Hijra communities of India. Although India has passed a law acknowledging a third gender within their population, and Hijras, as a community have been recognized within social and religious communities with India for centuries, Hijras still face incredible discrimination in India and struggle to gain the basic rights offered to other Indian Citizens. A Hijra may identify themselves as a transgendered person, may be eunuch or an intersex person. Many Indians identifying as Transgendered may face discrimination of isolation from their community, and may seen refuge in the Hijra community. WE DID NOT FALL FROM THE SKY chronicles the life of several such women. Denied access to many jobs, our protagonists are often left with little options for work except for sex work or begging- often exposing themselves to terrible dangers in the process.

 

But the lives of our heroes, while often difficult, are far from hopeless. Each of them possess incredible talents, such as classical dancing, or  provided important roles during religious ceremonies, or have admirable aspirations, such as working for the their government. There is never a doubt of the boundless human potential that exists within them, despite the often difficult circumstances of their lives.

 

WE DID NOT FALL FROM THE SKY is a telling tale of it’s time. It acknowledges that crucial aspect of the hijra community not being one that has “suddenly appeared”, but one that has long since been a part of Indian history and culture. But it also showcases the changing tides of a future on the cusp of changing. WE DID NOT FALL FROM THE SKY showcases the life for the Hijra community now, but also points to the hope of what the future holds for the community as well. A future where this community has rights to land ownership, child-adoption, working freely without discrimination. WE DID NOT FALL FROM THE SKY is a story of hope, through the eyes of the women on the front-lines of movement to provide a better life for all people. A moving and important film. Many credits of acknowledgement to the amazing bravery of the cast, and the director Tabs Breeze and Georgia Oakley.

by Kierston Drier

WATCH the Audience FEEDBACK Video: 

WE DID NOT FALL FROM THE SKY, 26min., UK, Experimental/Relationship
Directed by Tabs Breese & Georgia OakleyPurushi, Pratiksha and Shalu are three best friends and trans women struggling to find their place in contemporary Indian society, often via the only means of making a living available to them: sex work and begging. Our film is a highly stylised art piece – the live action is intercut with animation and dreamlike dance sequences.

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Film Review: ALAN WILLIAMS METAL ARTIST, UK, Documentary/Art 

ALAN WILLIAMS METAL ARTIST is a spectacular piece of cinematic documentary storytelling. Shining with incredible images from every frame and with fantastical creations waiting to leap out in every corner, Alan Williams carries us, the audience, along with him while he turns seemingly useless scrap metal in to utterly stunning works of mastery.

 

At seven minutes, to see so much in so small a time is an ambitious feat, but director Ben Cox is able to put together a brilliant documentary in that impressively small time frame. A film that sparks as much passion as the artist himself clearly has for his work, ALAN WILLIAMS METAL ARTIST is a captivating visual journey of art and beauty. A delight for the eyes and the artists’ heart.

 

by Kierston Drier

WATCH the Audience FEEDBACK Video: 

ALAN WILLIAMS METAL ARTIST, 7min., UK, Documentary/Art 
Directed by Ben CoxAlan Williams: Creatures of the Deep offers an insight into the mind and work of the immensely talented Brighton sculptor Alan Williams, who turns scrap metal into amazing animal figures

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MOVIE REVIEW: SUICIDE NOTE (UK, Fantasy/Thriller)

REAL ARTISTS played to rave reviews at the July 2017 FANTASY FEEDBACK Film Festival.

by Kierston Drier

Highly interpretive and deeply symbolic, this five minute fantasy-thriller from the United Kingdom is an exploration of life, death and it’s faceted transition. SUICIDE NOTE is deep meditation of one person’s journey from life to whatever is beyond it. Set against a haunting ethereal soundtrack and a featuring dramatic and dynamic framing, this piece is filmed in black and white. It has an almost unknowable quality to its tone and atmosphere- as though the viewer, is intentionally meant to never see the full scape of the hero’s world. Perhaps this is because it is the symbolic portrayal of the ultimate journey out of life.

A large portion of the piece is focused on the frame of a delicate doll, seemingly floating or suspended, set against the eye of the main hero. It is possible this doll represents the hero’s human body, while their eye represents their sense of self, both metaphorically and literally. Highly open to interpretation, this is a film that must be watched with an open mind. It may not be conventional cinema, but it is breathtakingly detailed, gorgeously shot and has an hauntingly beautiful tone. A delight for the senses.

 

SUICIDE NOTE, 5min, UK, Fantasy/Thriller
Directed by Marina Waltz

A surrealist meditation on the many self-inflicted deaths of identity we must courageously endure in order to attain a more complete understanding of who we are.

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MOVIE REVIEW: A MONSTER CALLED CHARLES (UK, Fantasy/Drama)

ECSTASY BOULEVARD played to rave reviews at the July 2017 FANTASY FEEDBACK Film Festival.

“Winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the Festival.”

by Kierston Drier

Some films make you laugh with joy, or awkward discomfort. Some break your heart. A MONSTER CALLED CHARLES will do both. This fifteen minute film hailing from the United Kingdom follows a young impoverished boy being raised by circumstance more than by his otherwise neglectful mother- who spends more of her time entertaining Johns than she does caring for her young son and infant daughter. In the wake of any real stimulation, our young hero heads out into the woods to make his own adventures, and discovers a monster there, who he names Charles.

Stunningly shot with a keen attention to detail, incredibly well edited, and seamlessly constructed, this piece also has an exceptional performance from the young male lead. His choices may seem confusing to the viewer at first glance, but his rationality, given his life circumstances, becomes all too clear soon enough. A tale that literally answers the question of what is worse- the monsters you know, or the monsters you don’t.

For a movie told through the eyes of child, and (potentially) their vivid imagination, A MONSTER CALLED CHARLES has a surprisingly intricate level of emotional complexity. Our characters, from smallest to largest, are deeper than mere black-and-white stereotypes. A piece worthy of detailed discussion, this film can be enjoyed at face value as well. It pays homage to childhood classics such as Where The Wild Things Are and even Peter Pan and the viewer can end the piece knowing the a happy ending has been found. A deeper message within the story might be showcasing what the effect of poverty and neglect can have on children.

Whichever way you choose to interpret this film, it is a powerful piece to watch. It would be a tragedy to miss A MONSTER CALLED CHARLES.

 

A MONSTER CALLED CHARLES, 15min, UK, Fantasy/Drama
Directed by Richard Paris WilsonThe story of a Boy who lives in a caravan park with his Mother, and a Monster who lives in a nearby woods…

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Movie Review: DON’T LET THE BASTARDS GRIND YOU DOWN (UK, Experimental)

Played at the July 2017 Experimental Short Film Festival

DON’T LET THE BASTARDS GRIND YOU DOWN, 4min, UK, Experimental
Directed by Michelle Bailey

A young girl girl searches for a safe haven in an urban landscape and finds solace in her own creative expression.

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Terrifyingly authentic and yet beautifully abstract, DON’T LET THE BASTARDS GRIND YOU DOWN follows a young woman fleeing the endless cycle of her abusive partnership. She flees down a street while a cycle of his verbal abuse replays over and over in her head.

Once she reaches a rooftop overlooking a deadly drop to the street below, she defies the expectation by bursting into a passionate and emotionally charged dance piece.

Sharp, dramatic, cathartic and intense, DON’T LET THE BASTARDS GRIND YOU DOWN is a piece about finding your own freedom. Our heroine is an exceptional dancer and cinematic performer, and our story, though simply, is nevertheless incredibly emotive and effective.

A piece worth watching if you are a fan of dance cinema, an appreciator of strong dramatic pieces or a lover a fine cinema, you will find something to enjoy in this work. It’s movement will surely move you.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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Movie Review: STRANGE BEASTS (UK, Experimental)

Played at the July 2017 Experimental Short Film Festival

STRANGE BEASTS, 5min, UK, Experimental
Directed by Magali Barbe

‘Strange Beasts’ is an augmented reality game. It allows you to create and grow your own ‘pet’. How far can it go?

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A bright, authentic and chillingly vibrant piece of speculative fiction, STRANGE BEASTS follows a software and game developer on his new groundbreaking game. One where you create and care for a digital pet. The catch? The game exists in a device embedded in your eye.

Our hero is loveable, bright, energetic and trusting. The game looks authentic, dazzling and instantly addictive. As a film the colors, graphics and visuals are flawless. The film is a master of attention to detail.

But what sets this film apart is its believability, and its gut wrenching twist. Without spoiling this remarkable ending- this film hits frighteningly close to home.

With this only a five-minutes-in-the-future kind of science fiction, the audience is hit with the sudden realization that this type of technology already exists, and the we are not watching a film about what could be, but what will be.

STRANGE BEASTS will haunt you, with its disarmingly charming approach to the future, and send a chill up your spine when it ends.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video

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Under 5min. Film: THE FINAL FAIRYTALE, 1min, UK, Family

Played at the Under 5 Minute June 2017 Film Festival

THE FINAL FAIRYTALE, 1min, UK, Family
Directed by Ken WilliamsA woman looks back at a fading memory of her father and of fairytales .

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Review by Kierston Drier

A four minute American film about the pain of growing up. A father reads his bedtime story to his daughter, when his daughter tells him that she thinks she might be too old for bedtime stories.

It is an utterly simple film. But emotionally, it is fathoms deep. Most impressively, the acting of the cast. The character of the father is only given one small moment to react to his daughter’s request- and so many emotions are transmitted. The efficiency of this emotional punch is breathtaking. A moment of independence for a child, and a moment of heartbreak for her father.

Remarkably effective and incredibly poignant, THE FINAL FAIRYTALE is touching and worthwhile piece indeed.