Emmi, a short film directed by Andrew Carslaw, proves to be a well-acted, well-directed but remorselessly grim affair. Set in a high rise council building, the story concerns an infertile woman who longs for children, and a teenager concealing a secret pregnancy. Hints of abuse from the unseen “Uncle Ray” and a sense that something terrible is about to happen hangs like a shadow over the entire film, which in ten short minutes packs a considerable punch.
Performances are good, especially from Amy Harris and Natalie Martins, as Sarah and the eponymous Emmi respectively. Writer Susie Stead clearly has the social conscience of a Ken Loach, and her admirably spare screenplay leaves plenty of room for viewers to fill in the blanks. Personally I’d have preferred a smidgeon of dark humour to undercut the bleakness, as the story does feel a little one note, but it is one note played very well.
Carlsaw paints his film in a muted palette of steely greys, and the overall tone combines social realism with hints of horror. A seeping dread lingers throughout the entire piece, from an opening subway encounter red herring to the bleak finale. The editing and music score, also by Carslaw, are very well done. Overall Emmi is a fine short and a good calling card for Ferny Films.
NOTE: Emmi can be seen at the following UK film festivals this autumn:
9 SEPTEMBER: Copenhagen Film Days (http://www.copenhagenfilmdays.dk/)
10 SEPTEMBER: London Rolling Film Festival (http://rollingfilmfestival.com/) – Free and including Q&A
23 SEPTEMBER: Screen It! Film Festival (http://www.screenitfilmfestival.com/)
9-22 OCTOBER: Fisheye Film Festival (http://www.fisheyefilmfest.uk/) – including Q&A
14-15 OCTOBER: Bristol Radical Film Festival (http://brff.co.uk/) – including Q&A
19-22 OCTOBER: Southampton International Film Festival (http://www.southamptonfilmfest.com/)
11 NOVEMBER: London Golden Scout International Film Festival (http://www.lgsiff.com/)