Confusion, fear, curiosity. These are some of the emotions directors Mahdi Hosseingholi and Mojtaba Zarghampour channel through their characters to represent society’s reactions to taboo subjects in Close Enough, gradually and increasingly exemplifying the idea that no matter how we feel about these taboo issues, and by showing each character’s lack of action towards the situation, we are all just bystanders.
Close Enough uses the camera as a focal point that draws the attention of passers-by in a park. Hosseingholi and Zarghampour depict a range of characters, all with different reactions to a controversial object that we cannot see, and all seemingly disturbed by the object in various ways. Monochrome colours are deliberately utilised in this short as a way to represent society’s views and responses, depicting them as old-fashioned whilst drawing attention to the subject at hand (and the directors’ opinion on it).
By using the camera as a focal point for the series of vignettes, Hosseingholi and Zarghampour break the fourth wall, using it as a tool to make the audience feel like a part of the film. Consequently, the audience is suspended in a state of confusion for the most part in regards to what is actually happening, the narrative cleverly dictating multiple viewings in order to fully grasp the film’s meaning.
The first impression we get is that these characters are overly sensitive and ignorant of what they are seeing in front of them. However, our opinion is drastically altered by the film’s conclusion and forces the audience to question how they should have reacted in the same scenario. Suddenly, the audience understands the reactions of the characters throughout the film. The film asks us to consider whether our initial response is indeed the correct one, if our own opinions are old-fashioned, and how society on the whole should handle such subject matter.
Ultimately, Close Enough is a smart and daring discussion piece that uses clever camera techniques to bring awareness to a topic close to the directors’ hearts, and which they implore the audience to consider with more thought and humanity.
Wear Your Emotions: Anger is one of four fashion commercials directed by Masaya Matsui, and immediately grabs the audience's attention by using actions and sounds that we can instinctively recognise as the emotion anger.
By opening with an establishing shot of a peaceful looking park and then immediately cutting to a high-angled shot of a man’s shaking knees, coupled with aggressive, rhythmic music, the audience can instinctively identify the emotion anger within the piece. Matsui does this by contrasting it against somewhere the audience would associate with peaceful and happy emotions - a park. By setting the film here, the audience becomes very aware of the emotion Matsui is trying to represent through Yoshi Oida, the ‘angry man’.
The casting choice also contributes to this, as we as a society stereotypically perceive old men to frequently command this emotion. As a result, the audience can recognise the angry reaction shots and short, fast-paced movements, whether it’s stamping feet, clenched fists or gritted teeth. By using close ups to capture these iconic expressions, Matsui is attempting to film actions that are universally recognisable.
The most interesting aspect within this film is the juxtaposition of peaceful backgrounds and objects with the angry man's emotions, used in order to organise extremely contrasting concepts (the introduction of a calming cup of tea is another example). Due to the brevity of the film, and by having around a third of it depict this angry character calming down, the audience begins to question if they correctly identified anger within the clip in the first place, especially as the visuals are aided by the background of a peaceful park.
By pairing these images with attention grabbing music, Matsui successfully gets across the emotion of anger, despite the “cool down” at the end, which may leave some viewers slightly confused.
'Close Enough' was part of the Official Selection at Short Focus Film Festival 2018.
'Wear Your Emotions: Anger' was a film submission in consideration for Short Focus Film Festival 2018.