In the bustling heart of Brixton, freighter crates have been aligned in different shapes and formats. Dozens of customers pour into the metallic boxes, crafted with an artistic flare, to devour drinks and food from around the world whilst entertaining themselves with a show or a series of films. Affectionately called Pop Brixton, the vibrant hum off life filters through the atmosphere gloriously and street delicacies add a savoury pinch of discovery to the aromas.
Last week, we attended Ritzy Cinema’s regular event at Pop Brixton, crafted by Robert Makin and it showcases the best in shorts from local filmmakers. Held in the biggest of boxes that have been transformed into a tiny cinema, the backdrop is indeed a unique, unusual, and magnificent one. On show, an array of talent dazzled and captured the souls of all in attendance.
Lucas Machowski’s Sketches from the Underground was a brooding black and white opus to New York City. Though shaky in camera movement and originality (homeless people and skyscrapers juxtapose the class divide is what student films are made of,) the pulsating ethnicities that populate and make up the city that never sleeps captures the elements of diversity. Black, Spanish, French, Chinese, and more are all given a stage to speak with volume about their worlds. The poetry borrowed really engages.
Gracie, an intricate portrayal of Alzheimer’s and immigration is much more structured. Directed by Matthew Morgan, the film revolves around an aging lady who longs to return home to her native Jamica. Looking at the relationships between grandson and grandmother, as well as establishing her character with an astute flashback, Gracie is a marvellous vignette of a ferocious life that’s dwindling. It helps that Angela Wynter is a gifted performer and her performance here is impeccable.
Meat on Bones by Joseph Ollman also looks at life and aging but in a darker way. Telling the tale of an alcoholic living in a caravan by a cliff an the unwitting estate agent who has to throw him out, only to find himself kidnapped, Meat on Bones is an uneasy navigation through the rigid rules of the world and how it affects different people. Whilst the narrative and the storyline gives more questions than answer and seems (perhaps intentionally) directionless, the performances by leads are evocative enough to keep you invested.
If you don’t like your art pretentious and you certainly don’t like pretentious art-makers and viewers, then Moo is the film for you. Slicing into the world of art criticism and the idea of “what makes art?,” Moo sees a young girl who likes to draw cows and is often ridiculed by it. Outrageous and funny, Moo benefits from Australian humour and a middle-finger to anyone who told you that your work isn’t art. With an earnest lead character and clever direction by Samuel Galloway, Moo is witty, droll, and sincere.
From then on, the movies became weirder and better. Stu Black’s Induction catches the weirdness of first days and enhances it. It revolves around a man who starts a new office job only to find that there is one colleague and a bunch of imaginary workers. Having to curtail to his surroundings, he finds that this job might defeat him. Whilst crude in camera work, it works well in story and the surreal elements.
The best film of the night, however, goes to Ella Jones’ Sarah Chong is Going to Kill Herself. With groovy seventies aesthetic, wonderful deadpan performances, and a brilliant titular performance by Elaine Gracie, the story of a maltreated receptionist out for revenge is smart and bloody hilarious. As the legend of Sarah Chong unravels, with hues of orange and browns setting the sceneary, the jokes flow greatly. A quirky black comedy, this has masses of heart and ingenuity!
Also in appearance were Paper Jam, a short stop-motion sketch about a woman in love with printers and copiers and Duke’s Pursuit. If you want to invest in a celebration of great talent that live and create in the heart of London, than Pop Brixton is an event for you! Discover something new!
To find out how to enter your shorts, visit the website here.