Although it’s not remarkable to see someone walking onscreen, ‘Perfection’ is set in Los Angeles, a city of cars and freeways. Yet this LA appears more intimate and unthreatening the sunlight and its exteriors appear filtered as if filmed through a gauzy haze as Kristabelle (Christina Beck) walks, navigating her way around the neighbourhood a striking figure with pronounced blonde bangs, clad in large sweaters, and black brogues.
A home life shared with her glamorous Mother Sally (Robyn Peterson) their environment is defined by their addictions, Kristabelle with freshly, bloodied scars on her upper thighs, self harms her way to feeling alive whilst Sally addicted to plastic surgery tries to maintain a younger, Hollywood aesthetic. At times each thrive on past nostalgia connected with their old lives and younger selves that relies on a currency, an emphasis associated with youth and desire “Oh Tony looked so handsome then’ remarks Sally whilst watching old westerns starring her husband and Kristabelle’s punk rock adolescence remembered through the eyes of a younger man, the brother of an old childhood friend. The original posters of ‘The Damned’ ageless images are still tacked on her bedroom wall.
Director/Writer: Christina Beck
Producers: Tatiana Kelly, Annette Murphy
Co Producers: Beth Dewey, Robert Poswall
Director of Photography: Robert Poswall
Editor: Katy Skjering
Composer: Marika Tjelios
Cast: Christina Beck, Robyn Peterson, David Melville, Jeff Kober, Jackson Davis and Jamela Biggs.
Best Narrative Feature – Oxford Film Festival, Mississipi, USA
“Sometimes we see people talk, but we don’t always hear them.”
Though the title might suggest a film mired in a cliché of social realism, where a backdrop of recession and the current economy are never far away, SSDD plays with those themes, but we get characters who are more than just one-dimensional working class stock. They are also part of the interspersed snatches of dialogue, where peppered conversations with people also form vignettes of the city. SSDD crackles with observational humour from exchanges in cafes about the theoretics of free speech, and later scenes with drug addled dealers that swiftly turn to paranoid ramblings.
The borough of Hackney, in East London is just as much of a central character as the people who live there. The multi-layered landscape of high-rise buildings, council estates, and the loft apartments all within reach of the moneyed, financial district of the City. Phil, (Richard Oldham) a squatter and former rioter and Lee (Samuel Anoyke) recently released from prison, work as security guards, relieving the tedium of the night shift with drugs and tales of the poll tax riots.
In an age of globalisation where wine bars, and gastro pubs have replaced community pubs, at the heart of the film there is a recurring sense of community. Pivotal scenes take place in a working men’s club as opposed to a pub, illustrating a setting where locals are regular customers brought together not just through class, and economic structure, but also through a fear of change. Trying to make sense of a recently reported suicide bomb in the city, Rick (Paul Marlon) taps into what he sees as relevant parallels with the film ‘ Conan the Barbarian.’ Holding court with a half drunk, but still lucid monologue he sees Conan as a folklore hero of the oppressed held under a brutal dictatorship. What could so easily have been an overwrought scene, in a lesser skilled director’s hands, Hall makes good use of the subtle underplay, with Marlon’s perfomance appearing effortless but still engaging.
SSDD explores the sense of loss that is not only attributed to life, but the loss of identity in a transient age.
Lee – Samuel Anoyke
Phil – Richard Oldham
Jermaine – Issac Ewulo
Rick – Paul Marlon
Sophie – Angela Hazeldine
Lynn – Clare Barry