Last Monday night, Lexus Short Films and The Weinstein Company kicked off their season three screenings at Soho House New York.
Friday Night (France), directed by Alexis Michalik, and The Nation Holds It’s Breath (Ireland), directed by Kev Cahill, two very different but equally impressive films, screened back to back to close out the night. And it’s a good thing they did. The latter and ultimate film, vibrant and hilarious, helped alleviate the tense atmosphere left in wake of the former and penultimate.
Friday Night tells the story of a mother desperately searching for her daughter in a foreign city under attack. The audience experiences the confusion and frustration of the mother, who bounces around from place to place, clue to clue, the language barrier infinitely compounding the already agonizing situation. An excellent score and noir feel reinforce the suspense, culminating in one bombshell of an ending. I held my breath.
The Nation Holds Its Breath, on the other hand, is much lighter in tone, featuring a young father to be who faces a dilemma: should he witness the birth of his child, or watch one of the most important football games in his nation’s history? The theater exploded in violent bursts of laughter all throughout this nostalgia trip. Most notable was director Kev Cahill’s use of color, which really made the film stand out from the pack.
After the screening, I caught up with Cahill, who told me how he used an orange-green color palette and oversaturated images to evoke a slightly surreal, rose-colored glasses kind of vibe. Cahill also kept the character framed asymmetrically until the scene where he finally takes control of the situation and moves center frame. The detail-oriented directer left me in awe of the mechanics of filmmaking–major decisions result in small details that play to the audience on a subconscious level.
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