Disruption [Anagha Komalankutty, India/UAE, 2018] /// Bubly: Cheers to Cheer [Rick Peters, USA, 2018
Director Anagha Komalankutty attempts to embody the destruction of creativity that is caused by disruption within her one-minute silent short film, Disruption. This is further emphasised by gender roles within the film, with patriarchal intrusions inflicted by actor Methil Komalankutty who takes control of the scene from actor Haniya Shamnad, thereby stifling her power and creativity.
The short film opens with an overhead shot of Shamnad’s hand drawing lines on a sheet of paper, the image aided by encouraging and thought-provoking music suggestive of a kind of ‘underdog’ within the piece. Consequently, this gives the audience a sense that the character is just starting out, but has a bright future. By doing so, Komalankutty uses Shamnad’s hand as a symbol for creativity.
As a result, when the male hand fiercely covers her hand and traps the woman’s free lines, the director attempts to convey the image of an external force that creative energies are unable to overpower. The problem for the film arises in using simple line drawings as a symbol of burgeoning creativity, with the idea of a controlling and disruptive patriarchy, and the metaphor by which it is represented, ultimately lost in the overbearing simplicity of the visual.
Komalankutty’s use of symbolism to embody the idea of disruption is well laid out, but the choice of tools could be improved upon. The basic notion to use art as a figurative symbol is what affords the piece a certain directness, even if, in the end, the efficacy of the narrative could have been arrived at in a more imaginative way.
Enlivening pop music runs throughout this short commercial film, as a car driven by a hip, young woman pulls up next to a middle-aged man in a deck chair listening to the same music. This opening scene alone manages to undermine pre-conceived ideas of middle-aged men as serious and boring, as he energetically dances in his chair with a big grin on his face.
By initially staging the scene with a stoic-faced man sat with his dog in a trailer park next to busy traffic, director Rick Peters is able to quickly establish a set idea in the audience’s mind, so that he can immediately contradict this preconception. Expecting the man to get angry with the girl and her music, the audience is instantly surprised when the exact opposite happens as they jig along together, before raising their cans of ‘Bubly’ soda in a silent, reciprocal salute before she drives off.
Peters most likely uses this well-known gesture to indicate positive relationships, whilst also implying that the can of ‘Bubly’ is the reason for the man’s unexpected behaviour. Reactive shots are also captured by Peters to associate joy, adrenaline and liveliness with the drink in order to make the audience associate these feelings with the product.
With Bubly: Cheers to Cheer, Peters successfully associates the imagery of joy and liveliness with the product, effectively using contrasting ideas and expectations to drive home his point, whilst implying that the audience, too, will be energised by drinking the product.
'Disruption' and 'Bubly: Cheers to Cheer' were film submissions in consideration for Short Focus Film Festival 2018.