By Milo Clenshaw, Second Year, Film & English
Rebel Film Festival kicks off its second day of programmes with a curious collection of short films in ‘Sunday Brunch’.
The festival's website suggests that you enjoy the first films Sunday has to offer with a mimosa in hand, and I can see why. It is an oddball programme of local slice-of-life documentaries bookended with fiction films from around the world. The films don't seem to have anything much in common, save that they are easy entertainment for a hungover Sunday morning - not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make jumping from surreal neon fiction to documentaries seem slightly odd.
Rebel Film Festival / A Wreck In Paradise (dir. François Zaïdi)
There were, however, some gems to be found amidst the confusion, like the programme's opening film A Wreck in Paradise (or The Preposterous Bar Challenge) by French director François Zaïdi. If you have ever wondered what a 'man walks into a bar' joke would be like visualised then this is for you, and aside from its humour there is well crafted cinematography and some unusual allusions to Christian and Greek mythology.
An elderly drunk crashes his car and is in need of some cash, and a seemingly impossible bar challenge presents a solution. The film's merit lies primarily in its playfulness, and the punchline that hangs above its dreamlike plot doesn't disappoint. Without a doubt the most polished film and my favourite, A Wreck in Paradise bolsters the whole programme.
Rebel Film Festival / SELFIES (dir. Claudius Gentinetta)
It is just the kind of stylish, offbeat start you want for a laid back Sunday morning, but then the tone changes; the three films that follow are all fairly low-budget documentaries, and while they have their own merits it takes a moment to adjust. They range from a heartwarming look at Bristol's own Social Cycle bike project in Tea and Tinkering (dir. James Mackay) to surprisingly affecting Rojava - A Call To Arms (dir Edoardo Richard Grasselli-Moyse) which interviews Charlie, an ex-freedom fighter who helped to drive ISIS from Kurdistan and is now trying to readjust to civilian life.
Another notable entry is Oh Geno! (dir. Onyinye Event), an upbeat docu-drama following singer Geno Washington's entry to the UK soul scene. Washington is magnetic on camera and the story is complimented by his orignial music - just the right kind of feel-good '60s toe-taping for first thing on a Sunday.
Although the films on the programme are united by their easy 'watchability' for the start of the day, this doesn't mean that they avoid tackling difficult topics like rape culture, casual racism and the refugee crisis. The best example of this is SELFIES (dir. Claudius Gentinetta), a simple animation which brings selfies to life, highlighting some of the effects social media has on human empathy and experience.
Rebel Film Festival / Thick Skin (dir. Erlendur Sveinsson)
Last on the list was Thick Skin (dir. Erlendur Sveinsson), a painfully current Icelandic fiction film exploring the boundaries of sexual assault and consent. It allows the audience to draw their own conclusions about a drunken teenage encounter at a party, offering the perspectives of both the perpetrator and the victim.
All of the films on screen were definitely worth a watch, and this is why their ordering was slightly frustrating; it didn't make sense to me to make such drastic changes in content and form from film to film. With this in mind, however, I feel like the programme would be much more enjoyable. If you are prepared for whatever ‘Sunday Brunch’ has to offer, then kick back and take it all in.
Interview with Dalton Deverell, Producer of Oh Geno!
Youtube / Epigram
'Sunday Brunch' was shown at Rebel Film Festival on Sunday February 24.
Featured Image Credit: Rebel Film Festival / Tea and Tinkering (dir. James Mackay)
Do you fancy the complimentary prosecco brunch on offer at Rebel Film Festival?