A female and male prisoner talk neighbouring cells, dreaming of escape. They imagine what life and meeting each other would be like outside the walls of the cell.
This had a fantastic location, that was creepy and allowed some wonderful textures and colours to be exploited on screen. Likewise there were some engaging shots - the lantern was one that springs to mind. At times it was a bit hard to hear the female prisoner and there was a bit of noise (camera or outside) through some interior scenes. While the acting was good, it did all become a bit too dialogue heavy and verged on becoming a little boring.
A strong, if not unexpected, ending had the intended impact on the audience. Well done!
Some of what I enjoyed:
Super cool shot of the plate sliding with the title.
Great lighting on the brick set. Very convincing.
Great set… looks like a legit jail. Probably is?
Really liked the cut from out on the dock to back in the cell.
Morbid ending. Bummed me out.
Well-made film all-around, though.
The first City Finalist to be screened was a sombre and mildly harrowing affair, but it was all delivered in style. Our man is a prisoner in an old-school cell, with only his never-seen neighbour-through-the-wall for company. They discuss plans for escape, with the sound of her bouncing a ball next door a constant sonic presence (although it took me a while to realise that this wasn't actually supposed to be a heartbeat effect). The use of the real location (Raupapa Island, I think?) was instantly evocative, and the use of light (or lack thereof) reflected the glooomy mood of the proceedings.
Visually and editing-wise, the fakesy escape sequence was very well done, with the realisation at the pier being quite affecting. Even better was the second fantasy sequence where the woman present also, standing facing away to preserve the mystery of the character. And while I had figured out the twist of the story by that point, the metaphorical imagery of her standing at the cliffside was very effective. (I also like the fact that while she lied about a few things, her plan to escape was arguably not a lie, from a certain perspective.)
Ultimately, all of this was unfortunately let down by very poor sound, both in terms of the source recordings (lots of hiss from the location - was there a generator nearby?) and also the mix (a lot of what the woman was saying got lost due to this). Which was rather a shame, because there was a lot otherwise to recommend this wee film. I look forward to what the team bring us next year.
(Viewed at the City Finals.)