We’ll be reviewing a number of films for Cardiff Mini Film Festival 2017.  The festival takes place from 23rd to 25th June.

URL: cardiffminifilmfestival.co.uk/

Twitter: @cardiffminifilm

Facebook: Cardiff Mini Film Festival

Emmi will be screened in the Fiction category.

There's something deliberately unsettling about the first few moments of Emmi.  Graceful piano notes chime as we look up into the sky.  "Emmi" the short presents in its first titles, there's even a little heart to adorn the "I".  While it may not be sudden there's a gear shift in tone.  The music gives way to the dull passing of cars on the duel carriageway.  The camera pans to a high rise, the stark monolith towers into the grey sky.  Then passed the hum-drum of traffic to the grimy underpass with it's rusty railings and stained walls.  Yet, in spite of it's visual repugnance, a lone tenant decides to brave it.  Just at the point of no return hoodies appear at the other end.  It's anxiety inducing in its familiarity, particularly when you're already uneasy.  However, Emmi plunges further into darkness during its short running time and does so unflinchingly.

Regardless of being feature length or short films, it's a rare thing to truly challenge an audience.  Moreso to lay down the gauntlet to its audience and not provide all the answers.  Writer/Director team, Sussie Stead and Andrew Carslaw, are careful not to tip their hand as the events unfold and are careful to still offer something of a reward come the credits.

Emmi herself is woefully familiar.  A torrent of hostility that keeps those around her at a suitable distance.  Then there's teen-mum, Ally and the soft-hearted tenant from the underpass, Sarah.  The archetypes may be something you've seen, but there's something in the atmosphere that has you thinking any of them could 180 at any time.  The intrigue filling the stairwells of the high rise they share is almost palpable.  You just know that all is not as it seems, but the clever way in which Stead and Carslaw create a tone of unsettling anticipation is enthralling.  Even when Emmi  reaches its darkest depths, you'll be hard pushed to avert your gaze.

There's no denying that the conclusion is provocative and hard hitting, but there's certainly no shock tactics involved.  If the subject itself and final message weren't challenging enough, how you digest it will be.