XTS17 Film Reviews

Coastal Drift (dir. John Barlow. UK 2017)

Fired by a palpable sense of purpose, director John Barlow crafts an elegy for the lost identity of the British seaside town. His thoughtful, essayistic style is established from the outset with an imaginative collage of photos of the heyday of British seaside holidays.
The short compares and contrasts the vibrant, bustling Hastings of 1975 with the comparatively desiccated life in the town today.
Fittingly, this finely wrought piece of nostalgia was shot on anamorphic 16mm film. Coastal Drift appositely ends with planes drowning out the ebullient sounds of the seaside, the holiday destination of yesteryear. The film incisively depicts how devastating technological change can be.
(Joe Regan)

A Drowning Man (dir. Mahdi Fleifel. UK / Greece, 2017)

Within its first ten seconds, Mahdi Fleifel‘s A Drowning Man captured my attention with a bleak opening that brutally depicts a day in the life of an immigrant trying to survive in Greece.

The film begins to show us the bleak life of a character simply titled ‘The Kid’ (Atef Alshafei). A tragic hero repeatedly asking for cigarettes, food, and money clearly illustrates his ongoing hardship and dependence upon others; this is just a normal day for him. Fleifel does a tremendous job of showing his audience that immigrants struggle to survive even when they have left their country behind them.
A poignant and intimate film, A Drowning Man is an extremely relevant piece of cinema that is a lesson to those who are ignorant of the ongoing immigrant crisis.
(Matt Holmes)

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