The Joy of Six
A mixed selection of short films, featuring Judi Dench, Peter Mullan and direction from Romola Garai
While short films rarely offer commercial potential, the format has remained the initial calling card/stepping stone for aspiring film-makers for several decades. By 2012, the route by which a high impact, self-funded short might become a hit online, propelling a budding director to feature film-making, is well established. By contrast, the previously popular, state funded model looks somewhat irrelevant and outdated.
The Joy of Six is an example of the latter, a half-dozen short films released as a programme as part of the New British Cinema Quarterly, designed to showcase the work of British film-makers. Mostly publically funded, the films chosen have no thematic or stylistic connection, and it’s hard to imagine who would pay to see this in the cinema, particularly since comparable, if not better product is online.
The Joy of Six at least has some star-power attached. Peter Mullan appears in Douglas Hart’s Long Distance Information as an aggressive father disturbed by a telephone call from an estranged son on Christmas Day. Judi Dench amusingly plays a romantically-inclined silver-surfer in Chris Foggin’s Friend Request Pending, in which she shows a grasp of social networking protocols that belies her age. And Romola Garai, star of The Hour, writes and directs Scrubber, about a young girl’s voyage of sexual discovery which begins unexpectedly when her babysitter doesn’t turn up.
Packaged with three other shorts, these films are each well executed and have some variety of content, but the overall effect of The Joy of Six is somewhat underwhelming. Hart, Foggin and Garai all show some promise as directors, but presenting shorts at feature-film format lessens any potential impact. Anyone online can chose what they see, while The Joy of Six pretty much force-feeds the audience with a selection-box of rather variable quality.
Selected release from Fri 9 Nov.