Sunday, December 11, 2011

[Short] Sailcloth (2011)

Man with a Plan

Written, produced and directed by Elfar Adalsteins, Sailcloth is one of those rare gems of a short film that is totally void of the spoken word, allowing the beauty of its imagery, strength of its casting and soulful music to guide one through what would be the determined plan of a man longing for the embrace of his wife long gone. It packs an emotional punch devoid of any loose ends, wrapping the narrative around a very powerful core with a technical package boasting of excellent production values.

One of the best actors of his generation, John Hurt plays an elderly man spending his twilight years in a nursing home, but determined to get out looking his Sunday best, closely shaven and decked smartly, to set sail into the vast ocean and reunite with happier memories from his life. And to that he had crafted an intricate plan that cinematographer Karl Oskarsson captured most beautifully, filling the landscape with vivid details from his bedroom, to the restroom in which he would catalyze his escape, right down to the claustrophobic little sailboat that he would use to launch into the vast ocean. Eflar Adalsteins' film may be without any dialogue, but John Hurt single-handedly carried all the emotions most excellently, from slight smiles to the heartfelt pain of missing someone dear. Perhaps the film would not be half of what it was if not for Hurt's presence of gravitas that lent the character plenty of gumption and lots of heart.

And the music by Rchard Cottle helped with the provision of an emotional dimension in cueing the audience in the feeling of the man's initial release and freedom into the open, springing a sense of adventure before knowingly and painfully accepting the man's final decision to do what he had to do. Handsomely photographing the picturesque coastal village of St Mawes Cornwall in this elegant effort, Sailcloth shows Adalsteins' potential in weaving something strong and powerful sans anything spoken, and it'll be interesting to see what heights the director is capable of scaling after this film.

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