The 15th-21st May marks this year’s Dementia Awareness Week and to coincide with this, writer and director Anthony Hett is set to release the second of his stories from his short film trilogy Only the Lonely. This short film trilogy focuses on the themes of loneliness, old age and dementia, featuring the films letters (2014), waiting (2018) and Scrable (2019). You may have seen Scrable as part of the Cell Adore Film Festival where it was screened as part of their official selection in April, winning both the Audience Award and the Jury Prize. In this piece we’ll be reviewing all three instalments of the trilogy.
letters is an eight minute short film exploring the friendship between Kevin, an elderly man and his postman, Malcolm. The film has a minimal cast, helping to reinforce the theme of loneliness. The entirety of the film carries this atmosphere throughout the runtime, showcasing just how important daily interactions with someone like a postman can be for those more isolated and vulnerable individuals of society. letters conveys the relationship of Kevin and Malcolm impressively, especially considering the narrative circumstances. This is possible due to the thoughtful screenwriting and emotive performance from Edward Davis who portrays Malcolm. letters delivers a sentimental start to this trilogy and sets the tone for what is to come in a gentle yet assured fashion.
letters is available to watch here.
waiting gives us an insight into the a day in the life of retired staff nurse, Frederica. This short feels like real fly on the wall filmmaking, taking audiences right into the midst of the seemingly mundane elements to Frederica’s daily routine. However, the longer we spend with her the more we realise that these small things that might seem unimportant to most are major to her, they are what gives her day meaning and drives her forward. The choice to feature hardly any distinct dialogue at all really encourages audiences to contemplate Frederica’s situation, giving the short film a lot of power whilst physically saying so little. It’s a snapshot of life in its later years and the realities that it brings with it. In some ways waiting is a very simple story but it’s simultaneously steeped in complexities and layered with emotion.
waiting is available to watch here.
Scrable is set in a small laundrette, run by middle aged Salif and his only employee, seventy-seven years old Mary. The pair enjoy plenty of cups of tea and biscuits, as well as playing the popular board game Scrabble. Just like the two short films before it Scrable has a very professional quality to it and is brought to life excellently by the performances of its main cast: Bhasker Patel, who plays Salif and Gillian Daniels, who plays Mary. They share a tender chemistry that is delightful to watch yet their performances do more than just highlight their friendship, helping to reveal the more detailed elements of the story too. It’s the sombre realisation of what’s really going on here that helps to elevate Scrable to the high standard that it reaches, ultimately presenting a very realistic portrayal of dementia and in a setting most will never have seen it in before.
Scrable is available to watch here.
Written by Hamish Calvert
Thanks for reading our reviews and please let us know what you thought about the short films! Leave a comment below or drop us a tweet over at @HCMovieReviews.
You can learn more about Anthony and his work at www.anthonyhett.com