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Fargate [Sally Cancello, UK, 2020]

In light of International Women’s Day, it is time that we paid more attention to our female directors, creators, actresses and all behind-the-scenes crew. Fargate boasts a significantly female-led cast and crew, with director Sally Cancello at the forefront of both. A director who has made a name for herself in the comedy shorts genre, winning an award for a film she made in the space of a week, she has been excelling in her career since.

Fargate follows a family's hilarious miscommunication. The mother, Maureen, is chasing her daughter, Kelsey, who she believes is going to rob a bank. Cancello set this in her hometown with the desire to show the northern working-class. The film strikes some comical notes and addresses the importance and franticness of family life.

The character building works well, they are developed and an overall understanding of them is gauged quickly. The direction, especially of the relationship between Maureen (Gillian Waugh), and her mother, Ethel (Rita May), is effective and believable. There’s light banter with concerns being shot down by Ethel who has classic comedic timing, acting as the relief of the pair with her slight cluelessness of what is actually going on.

The direction and relationship building are supported by clever and clear cinematography, with leader Robert Beck behind the camera, creating the right shots to capture emotions and surroundings. Occasionally the dialogue feels more forced than natural, and the editing at times lacks the ability to feel snappy, but that shouldn’t diminish from the moments where editor, Dave C. G. Hare, gets it right.

The score is integrated very effectively, the rock undertones and heavy drums mashed with guitar really propelling the narrative forward. The music (written by Helen Boulding and Jonas Persson), accurately represents a family on a mission, in spite of their innocent concerns and sweet décor.

Fargate showcases a growing directorial talent, with a fully capable crew behind her, and whose comical passion is clearly visible in her clever writing and captivating storytelling. Cancello has created a light-hearted and engaging short film representing working class northern women, which displays the concerns and support of a family experiencing laughable miscommunication. An extremely relatable film, where we are easily able to see a small part of ourselves onscreen, it is no surprise the short has won a wide range of awards.


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