Staff Review/ Exposures 2012 Competition Screening: Programme 6

Cornerhouse Digital Reporter Ben Williams takes a look at the student films on offer in the final competition screening of exposures…

This Wednesday’s screening of Programme 6 in our exposures festival dishes up another assorted selection of treats from Britain’s most exciting new screen talents. There is the usual variety you might expect from a competition screening, with each film touching on its own issues with varying degrees of subtlety.

First up is The Phone Box, directed by Ian Robertson, a black comedy exploring our relationship with money and greed via a phone box which returns coins the longer you hold the receiver. Philippe Blunt’s Injuries, a beautifully shot and deliberately slow paced piece, seemed to question its viewer in the same way Michael Haneke did with Funny Games.

Red Letter is the longest film in this programme, directed by Tom Marshall and with accolades to its name already, I had high expectations and it delivered. The story centres on a young boy whose father has moved him from London to a small village in Wales, where everything isn’t quite what it seems. Fans of The Wickerman and The League Of Gentlemen, like myself, will enjoy its surprisingly old-fashioned spookiness, but it’s also worth applauding the genuinely moving depiction of loss, and the stand out performance of Jack Morrisey.

The other big hitter in this selection is The Changing Face Of India, an often hilarious, always entertaining, documentary about moustaches in Indian culture. William Hartley’s film introduces us to some larger than life characters whose individual moustaches would put a thousand Northern Quarter hipsters to shame! We hear from the owners of some of the world’s most impressive facial hair and learn of Western influence and its threat to hair follicle dominion. Do only badguys have moustaches?

First Bird That Fell, by Manchester Metropolitan’s Sing J Lee, is a brief but beautiful highlight of Programme 6. As cinematic as anything else in the competition, at just under 4 minutes its impression long outlasts its screen time.

The Ball, Blind and particularly The Wall are all worthy contributions to a very strong programme. However, I would like to give special praise to I Dream in Colour directed by Felix Elsen. We see the world through the eyes of six people with various visual impairments and through ‘their eyes’ gain a greater understanding of blindness and how it affects people in different ways.  Having worked with Henshaws who help enable people with visual impairment, I found this an incredibly effective educational tool and a credit to Kent Association For The Blind and Middlesex University.

Competition Screening: Programme 6 screens at 20:30 on Wed 22 Feb. Book your tickets here.