Sailcloth (2011)

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This short film of 18 minutes has absolutely no dialogue and is beautifully executed. It tells the story of an elderly gentleman (John Hurt) who creates a diversion so that he can escape from the nursing home where he resides. He then takes a trip to the pier where a beloved companion awaits him for their final great journey together.

The film is poignant and beautiful and I actually didn’t even notice it didn’t have any dialogue in until someone pointed it out afterwards; the visuals are so strong that dialogue is not missed or even required. Sailcloth was filmed entirely in the Cornish town of St Mawes and so its presence at the Cornwall Film Festival seemed particularly apt. The film was winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short at the Rhode Island International Film Festival this year and has been selected for 2012 Academy Short Film Award consideration.

Writer and director Elfar Adalsteins achieves a lot in a small amount of time clearly understanding the language of film and therefore producing an engaging and moving piece. John Hurt is brilliantly cast, his face and expressions saying so much. Shot choices are interesting, in particular an aerial shot looking down on the man in the nursing home is creative and memorable.

The story is simple and effective and visually the film feels accomplished and interesting. It could have felt cheesy and twee but it is executed in such a way that you are drawn into the world of this elderly man immediately and you care what happens. An endearing short film with a great central performance.

Director and Writer: Elfar Adalsteins
Cast: John Hurt
Runtime: 18 mins
Country: UK

Film Rating: ★★★½☆

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