Hymn of Hate by Matt Kennard

Hymn of Hate by Matt Kennard

Our first screening by Matt Kennard is his debut directed film called Hymn of Hate which is set during World War I in 1916, somewhere in the undamaged countryside of No Mans Land in The Somme.

The title was chosen after Kennard had written the script and read the poem by Ernst Lissauer called Hymn of Hate previously it had been just named No Mans Land.

The moving story of three soldiers on the battlefield begins without any words for quite a few moments. We watch the Sargeant and soldier make their way across a field watching out for signs of German soldiers.

The main body of this film takes place during an encounter with a German soldier. The young English soldier suddenly stops. The concerned look combined with the downward beckoning of his head alerts the English Sargeant to the German Sargeant led injured on the floor with his weapon pointing up.

Tensions rise between the three soldiers as a potentially volatile situation begins to take hold. The younger soldier notices he can speak English and defies his Sargeant’s order to move lower down to listen to him.

The film switches from the potential of gunfire to an exchanging of friendlier dialogue. The men exchange photographs and tell each other about their wives and children. This film focuses on the uniting of human beings who underneath the enemy uniforms share similar loves and lives.

A very heartfelt and moving film set in a brief moment during a long war. I am sure there were many of these brief moments where enemies became united during this war and the previous and present wars too.

A heartfelt and moving short film. Poignantly made to mark the hundred year anniversary of World War 1.

By Elaine Chapman

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Detainment directed by Vincent Lamb

In everyone’s lifetime, there is at least one high profile murder case that evokes public anger, hurt and a new level of disgust in the behaviour of human beings. None more so when the crime is against a child, add to that committed by children too and we are left horrified and questioning how could they do it?

Vincent Lambs new award-winning short film is about one of those cases. The UK premiere of Detainment was shown tonight, 9th November 2018 in the Winchester Discovery Centre as part of the annual Winchester Film Festival.

This short film is based on the interview transcripts and records of John Venables and Robert Thompson from the 1993 murder case of Jamie Bulger.

Vincent told the audience after the screening that ‘it is a tragedy for three families’. Once you remove the anger towards the two 10-year-olds who committed this heinous crime, there are two more sets of grieving parents left behind trying to make sense of what their sons have been capable of doing.

Through this film, Lamb made the point that he wanted to humanize the boys that committed this horrific crime. Nobody has attempted this before. Lamb was very clear that this was not to feel sympathy towards these two but to see them in the light of actually only being children too.

Lambs intention is not to distract audiences from the horrifying crime these two boys committed. Detainment is about tackling the raw truth about how these boys confessed to what they had done and the exceptional work carried out by the Merseyside police force.

David James Smith author of the book The Sleep of Reason attended the UK premiere and his parting words to Lamb after the screening was that this short film ‘deserves to be seen’.

Whether or not it will attract large viewing audiences remains to be seen. However, it is definitely going to be one of those controversial short films that most people will have strong feelings about this case and passionate emotive responses. Now into the 25th year anniversary is the nation still going to ‘demonise’ these two 10-year-old boys?

The film festival runs from 3rd to 10th November.

Tickets available from the box office winchesterfilmfestival.com

Twitter @winchesterfilm

Facebook Winchester Film Festival

Instagram @winchesterfilm

Silence by Nicola Werenowska.

Cast pictured above

Maria, Grandmother Tina Grey.

Ewa Daughter Kate Spiro.

Anna Grandaughter Maria Louis.

Photographs above are courtesy of Robert Day.

Photograph by Elaine Chapman

Behind every family, there lies a history and secrets that they carry with them from generation to generation. The three generations of women in Silence are no exception. Nicola Werenowska has crafted this families hauntingly dark history through nonlinear timelines narrated by each of the three characters.

Silence is not only the title of this movingly thoughtful play but the theme that runs throughout. These difficult heartbreaking decisions that have shaped the family are still playing a major role in their lives. Anna confirms this when trying to discuss a past event with her Mother, Ewa who refuses to answer and Anna replies frustratedly to her with ‘things you never ask’ which is simply met with silence by Ewa.

Each of the two Mother and Daughter relationships is haunted by feelings of not being good enough and unloved. However, not knowing how to be able to love appears to be the reality.

Russia’s part in World War II and the horrific events that took place in the Siberian prison camps after the war ended is the main backdrop in this play. Maria, the Grandmother has never forgotten the cold, the tiredness, hunger and devastating decision that was forced upon her during that time. She recalls these memories throughout the play as we step back and forth into her history until she reaches the devastating event that had moulded her relationship with Ewa.

Truly remarkable performances from all three actresses. Their passion, conviction and intensity are incredibly moving. This play is a credit to the director, Jo Newman. I defy anyone not to be affected by this heavily layered journey into the present day.

The Salberg Theatre is a smaller venue with 149 seats. It provides a more intimate setting for this play. Being closer to the performance enhances the dramatic tensions you feel as an audience by being in close proximity.

I rate this play 5 stars

The play runs from the 13th -17th November 2018 at Salisbury Playhouse, Salberg Theatre.

Contact;

Wiltshire Creative,

Salisbury Playhouse,

Malthouse Lane,

Salisbury,

Wiltshire,

SP2 7RA.

Ticket sales 01722 320 333

Email info@wiltshirecreative.co.uk

http://www.wiltshirecreative.co.uk

Winchester film festival Friday 9th November.

Winchester film festival is now into its 8th year. Showing film premieres and award-winning short films from over fifty countries.

Tonight Winchester Discovery Centre was the chosen venue for the screenings. The chosen films were all under the theme of lost youth. However, the loss of youth is portrayed differently in each film.

Hymn of Hate by Matt Kennard

Our first screening by Matt Kennard is his debut directed film called Hymn of Hate which is set during World War I in 1916, somewhere in the undamaged countryside of No Mans Land in The Somme.

The title was chosen after Kennard had written the script and read the poem by Ernst Lissauer called Hymn of Hate previously it had been just named No Mans Land.

The moving story of three soldiers on the battlefield begins without any words for quite a few moments. We watch the Sargeant and soldier make their way across a field watching out for signs of German soldiers.

The main body of this film takes place during an encounter with a German soldier. The young English soldier suddenly stops. The concerned look combined with the downward beckoning of his head alerts the English Sargeant to the German Sargeant led injured on the floor with his weapon pointing up.

Tensions rise between the three soldiers as a potentially volatile situation begins to take hold. The younger soldier notices he can speak English and defies his Sargeant’s order to move lower down to listen to him.

The film switches from the potential of gunfire to an exchanging of friendlier dialogue. The men exchange photographs and tell each other about their wives and children. This film focuses on the uniting of human beings who underneath the enemy uniforms share similar loves and lives.

A very heartfelt and moving film set in a brief moment during a long war. I am sure there were many of these brief moments where enemies became united during this war and the previous and present wars too.

A heartfelt and moving short film. Poignantly made to mark the hundred year anniversary of World War 1.

Rain directed by Ravi Sandberg

An uncomfortable subtitled Dutch short film about an adolescent child abuser and his younger victim. Unusually filmed through the eyes of the abuser. During the introduction, the audience is told that the director was abused himself as a child. Perhaps using this production as a form of recovery from the trauma he suffered.

This film tells the story of an adolescent boy who babysits for a neighbour’s younger son. Most of the scenes between these two boys are predominantly visual in so much as you watch the suggestions of the actors and the situations the two boys are in setting the scene for abuse taking place rather than the acts themselves.

On one occasion when he arrives to babysit the young boy has already been sent to bed as a punishment. You cannot help wondering who is being punished as no matter how much the abuser tries to talk to him he refuses to reply by pretending to be asleep.

As the story develops we are aware that the boy has told his Mother when the police arrive at the older ones home. This is the first indication that the older boys Mother is aware anything has happened. Sandberg explores the feelings of numbness and disbelief through the characters as they try to make sense of this appalling situation instead of using angry violent scenes.

During a couple of scenes, the cinema audience gasped and made disapproving noises. Highlighting the level of discomfort felt while watching this.

However, it is extremely well acted and could easily be the family living next door. A high percentage of child abusers is a family friend or relative and Sandberg has encapsulated that very well in this film.

Schoolyard Blues by Maria Eriksson-Hecht

A subtitled Swedish film directed by Maria Eriksson-Hecht. The description for the film is about the older brother teaching the younger brother how to survive in the schoolyard.

This film began confusingly with the older brother removing the younger one from his bed. It is established that it is the younger ones first day at school and it fails to become clear why there isn’t a parent there.

It drifts from the basement of their apartment where there are clothes in various sizes kept and the younger brother is told that he can come and change as he gets older.

To a public toilet where he washes the hair of his younger brother after telling him he is dirty.

They are then walking through a wooded area to fight with sticks. In an attempt to teach him self-defence.

Eventually, the two boys end up at the edge of the schoolyard where his brother leaves him to go into class. Once in class, the other children all have their parents behind their chair and he explains his Mother is at work.

I genuinely did not understand the message that this film was trying to put across and it loses depth at times when it drifts from one scene to the next without obvious continuity.

The film festival runs from 3rd to 10th November.

Tickets available from the box office winchesterfilmfestival.com

Twitter @winchesterfilm

Facebook Winchester Film Festival

Instagram @winchesterfilm

Tonight’s venue was

Winchester Discovery Centre

Jewry Street

Winchester

SO23 8SB

0300 555 1387

Box office 01962 873603

Facebook Winchester Discovery Centre

Twitter @WinchesterDC

Winchester Film Festival 8th November 2018.

Winchester film festival is now into its 8th year. It boasts a week of film premieres and award-winning short films from over fifty countries.

Tonight’s event was held in the Winchester Records Office in Sussex Street, where it has a nice 80 seater custom-built cinema on the top floor. I was not even aware of the venue’s existence until I arrived.

Calamity directed by Séverine De Streyker and Maxine Flyers.

Opening this evenings screening was Calamity a short story exploring a families response to their youngest son’s new girlfrien. It is filmed in Belgium with subtitles. The dialogue was kept to a minimum making them easy to follow. The acting and close up camera details explained the majority of the storyline.

The main focus of the film is Cleo, a transitioning transgender and how she is responded to by her boyfriends family when they are caught off guard in his parents home. The subject of her becoming transgender was not the main focus of this short film. It was the responses from his Mother, Father, brother and sister in law and how each of them reacted.

Fathers character is interesting, a large older man who comes across as staunchly heterosexual. However, he very quiet and deals with the situation awkwardly and appears to be very uncomfortable. As he has no idea what to say he disappears to the garage and rummage’s in the freezer to find Eskimo pies which turn out to be ice lollies.

Mother switches between accepting and being curious. In one scene she approaches Cleo in the hall and places her hand on her breast and tries to turn her. It was abstract and not really in keeping with the Mothers character the audience had already become acquainted with.

The film is left unfinished, it felt like the directors could not think where to take the characters next. The brother was here in one scene and not seen again. Father is just awkwardly talking about getting rid of the freezer and Cleo and her boyfriend get in the car and go. It is as unclear at the end as it is at the start as to how they are going to accept Cleo into the family.

However, the storyline is very fluid and easy to follow.

Lady directed by Will Nash

An unusual choice of filming technique for Lady in 8mm Kodak film, which used to be used a lot in home movies. As the film develops it is clear that the filming style reflects the nostalgic reminiscence of the 90s ladette generation, through the protagonist Amy.

You would be forgiven in thinking that this was set in the 90s. However, upon closer viewing, you can see it is set up to date. The mobile phone by her bedside table and the modern model of car used in the garage she is working on our two hints in how you can date the film. More clarity to tell the audience which decade it was set in would have saved confusion. This was raised during the director’s feedback at the end of the film and duly noted by him.

Amy, the ladette of today reflects back to the time when young women behaved the same as the young lads of that generation. Heavy drinking, casual sex and the changes in job roles for women ie her working in a garage. Women were, at last, becoming equal to men. However, were they as with much nostalgia it is never quite as we remember it to be. The audience can decide on this for themselves.

The subject fitted well into a short film.

Retouch directed by Kaveh Mezaheri

This short subtitled film is set in Iran. It follows the dramatic life-changing events during one day in an Iranian husband and wife’s life.

The dialogue between the couple is strained and you can sense an awkwardness between them, suggesting she is unhappy with him. Before she leaves for work he calls out to her to help him. She enters the bedroom to discover the weights he was using are resting on his upper chest and throat. After a minor effort to help him, she takes the opportunity to finally be free. Letting the weights remove the last breath from his body. She leaves the flat to continue with her usual routine.

The timeline between her leaving the flat and returning later gave the impression it had been padded out. The actress did not come across convincingly at times when she was texting her husband and making phone calls as she is setting up her alibi pretending she does not know he is dead.

Domestic violence has a lot of media coverage at the present time and something as subtle as this short film would not be clear enough. It would be very easy to see her as sadistic in watching him die and to easily misread the film’s storyline.

The story behind this short film was based a short film watched on Facebook where a lady in a similar situation did this to escape her husband who subjected her to repeated sexual assaults. However, without knowing this information the film felt like it was missing part of its storyline.

The Smell of Petrol by Branco Tomovic

A short film about human trafficking. The main protagonist is female. I found this a very interesting choice as most reported cases in the news are run by men.

After the first drop, the woman returns home and showers straight away. Giving the impression she was cleansing herself from the awful thing she had just done.

The exact country, town or nationality of where this is set is left unanswered. The director explained he did not want it to be located as this is a problem all over the world. It was the subject that was the important part to raise awareness of.

The title comes from a device used by human traffickers where they cover the people in petrol to stop the dogs at border control being able to smell them out. This method can have devastating outcomes as featured in this film when the second trafficked couple lose their baby during transit. It is mentioned by the two traffickers that perhaps the baby was overcome with fumes. She is then told in no uncertain terms at this point by the receiving trafficker to ‘dump it, are we fucking clear’. The agonising look on her face when she realises she has to dispose of the baby made for uncomfortable viewing.

This multi-layered short film has plenty of scope to develop into a feature-length film. It gave the audience a small window into the inhumane life of human traffickers where the ultimate price they pay for freedom can be their life.

The main protagonist’s backstory would be interesting to see developed as it only hinted at in the final scene when she is cuddling her daughter and crying, that there has to be a good reason why she is doing this horrendous job.

Cavello directed by Sven Bresser

This is a coming of age short story following two young male friends and how they deal with the arrival of a new girl in their class who they both like. But takes the attention of one of them away from his friend.

A bit disjointed in places similar to the confused mind of a hormonal teenager. This was mirrored by the violent outburst towards his Mother, the awkward masturbation scene, jealousy and violent fighting over the girlfriend. It did appear to lose itself at times though.

The title name Cavello is a clothing brand featured in the film. It was a good device to use as teenagers are known for being into wearing brand named clothes.

It has an extremely uncomfortable ending where the young girl is sat on the railway bridge and as the train sounds the horn underneath as he charges at her. This left the audience stunned and it took a few seconds before anyone clapped or spoke.

This is the first event like this I have attended and I would highly recommend it. These short films give an insight into the talented directors and actors that are working extremely hard around the world producing new films.

The film festival runs from 3rd to 10th November.

Tickets available from the box office winchesterfilmfestival.com

Twitter @winchesterfilm

Facebook Winchester Film Festival

Instagram @winchesterfilm

Tonight’s venue

Hampshire Record Office

Sussex Street

Winchester SO23 8TH.

Twitter @HantsArchives

Sugar Buddy by Jonathan Skinner.

The UnDisposables is a London based Arts and Theatre collective. This is the second of the two new plays performed as part of New Voices season from them on the 5th November 2018.

After a chance meeting at a bus stop, Graham without an E and Felicity strike up an unusual agreement. Felicity is a barista on minimum wage and Graham is very rich after losing his parents and inheriting the house and a lot of money. Neither have many or any friends. However, Graham is the only one honest enough to admit this.

Graham dresses in comfortable scruffy clothes. Whereas Felicity wears a fake fur coat and red beret with a designer named top underneath. Too often society assumes who we are by what we wear and in reality, we actually should never judge by appearances, as they are often wrong.

The arrangement follows that Graham employs Felicity to be his friend and for the self-professed Cambridge University Graduate to teach him about culture, foreign films and the arts. Most importantly for Graham how to be normal, by being his friend.

The actor’s dialogue moves quickly throughout the play. The two characters are in conversation and then they break the fourth wall to address the audience. This added an interesting dimension to the play.

There are some very funny lines throughout which both actors delivered very well. Felicity’s main device to cover up her own inadequate feelings is to be very sarcastic. However, Graham humours her and pretends not to hear or understand her deflecting it away.

As their paid friendship grows Felicity eventually agrees to let Graham chose an outing and she ends up on the tube. Graham explains to a bored Felicity all about The Tube Challenge, as explained in this picture below. This is his one ambitions in life to break the record.

The play ends at Graham’s funeral, and the truth about Felicity never going to Cambridge among many other admissions all unravels during their final conversation from beyond the grave.

I was left asking who was really the lonely one out of Graham and Felicity. In my opinion, it was Felicity, she made up a life to sound happier and more popular than she was. However, Graham never pretends to be anyone but himself.

A very well acted, written and directed play.

Written by Jonathan Skinner

Directed by Katerina Tinnirello-Savvas

Connor Hughes – Graham

Sophie Winter-King – Felicity

Twitter@undisposables

@Jon_Skinner

http://www.undisposables.co.uk

Performed at:

KATZENJAMMERS,

Katzpace

24 Southwark Street,

London,

SE1 1TY.

On 4th -6th November 2018.

http://www.katzpace.co.uk

The Snow Angel of Antartica by Victoria Connerty.

The UnDisposables is a London based Arts and Theatre collective. This is the first of the two new plays performed as part of New Voices season from them on the 5th November 2018.

The play tells of the heartfelt journey taken by Ellie and Jimmy, twins separated only by ten minutes at birth entering the world via the ‘vaginal waterslide’ as they travel to visit the penguins in Antartica and camp overnight on the ice cap. The love and closeness of these two are played out predominantly through humour and well-meant banter.

However, all is not straightforward and as Ellie played by Esther Joy Mackay travels with her brother to Antartica to see the penguins. The plot unfolds to reveal her real reason for visiting there and why she has bought a penguin flask with her.

The play changes quickly between the present and the previous year smoothly. Allowing the audience to keep in time as the real story unfolds.

This two-man play deals with, love, loyalty, commitment, grief and the bond shared by many twins.

Jimmy played by Jaymin Michaels has a challenging role as he moves between the alive and deceased character throughout the play. The expectation is that the audience is unaware of this until close to the end of the play.

Cancer only gets a small part in this play though and is never allowed to upstage the twins relationship. In some ways drawing them closer together.

My favourite part of the play takes place at the end when both twins take turns reading out sections of the letter left to Ellie by Jimmy.

Two outstanding performances in this well written and directed play.

Written by Victoria Connerty.

Directed by Madeleine Corner.

Twitter@undisposables

http://www.undisposables.co.uk

Performed at:

KATZENJAMMERS,

Katzpace

24 Southwark Street,

London,

SE1 1TY.

On 4th -6th November 2018.

http://www.katzpace.co.uk