Watersprite: Self-Questioning


“Self-Questioning” is the title of one of the short film strands screened at this year’s Watersprite festival: a collection of short films from three different countries and from three frighteningly talented directors. 

GOD BLESS YOU (2014) by Polish writer/director Jakub Radej is an almost silent film: the only words uttered are the film’s title. The entire story is revealed in just the visuals. The protagonist’s inciting incident is a simple photograph; annoyance is displayed with throwing money into a church collection basket by his lover; desperation is felt with the theft of church funds. Cinematography by Patryk Kin sets the highest of standards from his opening frame, and his work was nominated for the award of best cinematography at Watersprite. GOD BLESS YOU is an incredibly visual experience: pure film. It aims to show rather than tell, and where films are often nothing but incessant blabbering, Radej’s film is a refreshing watch.

The star showing of the day came from director Arthur Lecouturier, titled: DO YOU EVEN KNOW (2014). This French language film opens with Alexandra (Valentine Lapière) at an abortion clinic, requesting a termination. Six days need to pass before it can happen and during that time she experiences a gamut of emotions, after the opening scene in which we discover that the unborn child’s father has died. This is a heartbreakingly touching watch; there were several sniffs from the audience inside the Palmerston Room at St John’s College.

A fine film, from an amazing script and acted by a truly remarkable actor…

For this staggeringly accomplished film the plaudits must go to co-writer and protagonist Lapière. With a character turned numb, it would be easy to play the role fragile and broken, yet Lapière’s opted to show grief. When she cleans her apartment, trying to rid herself of unhappiness, her knuckles burn white and red; when she walks she stomps; even staring into space we imagine the thoughts vibrating in her mind. The pinnacle moment is when she head-butts a wall with wincing force. DO YOU EVEN KNOW, nominated for best acting, best directing and best fiction, deserves all the praise it is getting: a fine film, from an amazing script and acted by a truly remarkable actor.

COTTONMOUTH (2015) is about Vaughn (Daniel Cavenaugh), an American high school basketball player who allows his jealousy of a team mate to cloud his judgement, and he fits his friend up for a crime he didn’t commit. The film is written, directed, edited and sound edited by the multi-skilled Richard Rogers. These short films in the “Self-Questioning” series show the range of talent that is ready to take the baton for the film industry in the near future.


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