Over the next few weeks we’ll be reviewing a number of films for Cardiff Mini Film Festival. The festival is on June 26th at Chapel 1877.
Facebook: Cardiff Mini Film Festival
Harry Stands Up
As an audience it's extremely satisfying to be trusted by a film maker. It's rewarding to watch events unfold and put the pieces together yourself without exposition or have the themes signposted. It makes for much more involving experience.
John McGovern accomplishes this in his short film Harry Stands up. Unafraid to let you discover just what the conclusion and it's meaning to is you, it's a delightful and dark curioso. From the opening of this well shot and dark short, you feel like you need to pay attention. You daren't miss a detail for how it can aid the our journey through the story - but rather than feel lost Harry Stands Up makes you feel more curious. Cleverly, the film invites you to pay attention.
This can be a dangerous play. Leave the audience with too many questions and patience, along with our interest, will be lost. Give us what we want too early and it's ultimately unsatisfying. Add into that a short running time and it's a very tricky recipe to get right.
After being introduced to Harry there's almost an unsettling feeling. Who is Harry? Why is he being treated like this? Is there more to the dynamic of Harrry's home life we're not privy to?
The small joys that Harry finds always seem to be in jeopardy. Whether it's from the household feline or the household matriarch, you root for Harry to find some success in carving out a little happiness for himself. The cinematography too adds a stark foreboding to the proceedings and while not hopeless, it successfully adds a psychological claustrophobia to Harry's world.
Rather than go for narrative tricks John McGovern takes confidence in how the story is crafted, acknowledges our curiosity and leaves the film itself to take us to the conclusion.
Title: Harry Stands Up
Running time: 8 mins, 12 seconds
Film completed: March 2016
Writer/ Director: John McGovern
D.O.P: Peadar O Briain
Editor: Donal Canavan
Score: Jonathan Bogle
Audio: Sinan Coffey
Producer: John McGovern/ Peadar O' Briain
Harry...... Tim Casey
Mary..... Eileen Fennel