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
Facebook Winchester Film Festival
Tonight’s venue was
Winchester Discovery Centre
0300 555 1387
Box office 01962 873603
Facebook Winchester Discovery Centre