The Norwich Film Festival showcased an array of 14 film shorts last weekend and these are my top picks, perfect for young and old adults alike:

The weekend kicked off with Catch of the Day, an Irish independent film about a husband coping with the fact his wife is dying. The movie seamlessly juxtaposes bleakness and beauty, whilst perfectly capturing the magic of the sea and, rather interestingly, the magic of old age.

One of the most heart-wrenching shorts was an untitled black-and-white number about an elderly gay couple. The partner’s terminal illness is visually represented by a grotesque set of dark roots growing from his chest and chin, which powerfully compounds the pain and unease that illness causes. There is not one moment at which the audience are comfortable, facilitating feelings of strong empathy for the couple as the healthy partner is eventually pushed to end his dying husband’s suffering.

The nights were also studded with comedy shorts with the aim of dispersing any intense emotions the audience might find themselves having trouble letting go of! Sump was a highlight for me. A wife’s partner is trapped in a flooded cave with six hours of air left and time running out. The police officer is hilariously blunt and completely hopeless and the wife can hardly be described as beside herself with worry; if anything, she’s just annoyed at the inconvenience. That annoyance turns to anger when the wife discovers her husband’s fiancé has turned up to the office, and that anger turns to fury when she is asked to identify the body of her husband’s wife, his other wife!

Then there’s Leash, a post-Brexit protest film which will leave even the most nonchalant of viewers shaken. A young female street cleaner of Polish descent is brutalised by a Welsh girl gang, its ringleader stealing her hi vis jacket emblazoned with the words ‘Keep Wales Clean’ (the viewer is given time to come to terms with this double entendre). This highly symbolic piece – with an absolutely shocking ending – is gripping, but also culturally necessary in this political moment.

Ending on a festive note, the last of the films I watched was BFI’s Earthly Encounter, a heart-warming piece about brotherly-love with an all-healing alien plant thrown in.

As you can see the Norwich Film Festival really caters for all types of film goer – I challenge you to go to a screening and not leave having both learned and laughed.


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