Secondary screenings at BFI

This year’s older student groups came from London Nautical, Dunraven, St Gabriel’s College, from Lambeth, and St. Mary Magdalene from Islington.  There was quite a range in tone, genre, theme, and use of mise en scene.

As our blogger Paris has written, the St Gabriel’s film was a small but beautiful hommage to Wong Kar-Wei’s In the Mood for Love.  The staircase scenes of Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung have to be the most luscious and heart-breaking images of repressed desire in cinema.  And our film-makers re-shot them in a hardware store in Camberwell.. just beautiful, funny, touching.

SMM screened three pieces.  The Therapy Room used the device of a video recording of a therapy session: the confined space was the Room, but also the fixed frame of the ‘diegetic camera’, if such a thing were possible, while the glimpsed flashbacks of lost Sophia alluded to an emotionally more open space.

In the Game was shot in a claustrophobic neon strip-lit basement, grainy and handheld in Blair Witch style (people don’t talk about BW much any more, but it launched a whole sub-genre).  The open space shot came at the end.. and at a cost for the contestants..

And then The Erl King, based on an Angela Carter short story, shot in Highgate Woods, and featuring Apichatpong Weerasathekul-like haunted trees and mysterious leading man.  The choice of one shot in particular revealed how the group had looked for ‘the right tree’ for 20 minutes.

Locked In, from Dunraven, reprised the student-locked-in-school narrative, powerfully dealt with last year by London Nautical, but this time done as slapstick, with a dash of Son of Rambow..

And London Nautical’s own Unspoken, which you can see here.

When Brad Stevens wrote about the lost art of mise en scene in Sight&Sound (March 2013), these are the kinds of films he was calling for – by 12 – 17 year olds!

Images of students discussing their work kindly taken by Michael le Marechal, of St. Gabriel’s College.

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