Skeletons, Street Days and no number 5.

Skeletons, a low-budget British black comedy from writer/director Nick Whitfield, kept me laughing for a long time.  Critics at the festival are calling it a British version of Ghostbusters; the subject matter is the same yet the styles could not be further from each other. Skeletons features two psychics (Andrew Buckley and Ed Gaughan) plodding around Derbyshire, providing psychic readings of the country folk’s past by putting on goggles and aprons, and opening wardrobes to expose the psychic force inside, finding ‘skeletons in the closet.’  Trouble strikes when the partners fail to give a psychic reading for a family and their boss (Jason Issacs, most known for  icy Lucius Malfoy) must be called in, unleashing havoc.

The humour comes from the strong accents of the pair (mystified me how the Dutch audience could understand when I was having trouble!?) and the way they interact.  I loved a scene at the dinner table in which a mother had prepared a typical English meal; rice with pasta and potatoes, with some bread on the side.

I had to rush to Georgian drama Street Days, but the film was definitely worth it. Quite short at only 87 minutes, the film nevertheless made a huge emotional impact. Protagonist Checkie, one of the many drug addicts that hang around the streets, has a problem bigger than his addiction. He is being blackmailed by a corrupt police force (with threats of prison) to set up his friend, a minister’s son, by buying him drugs and shooting them into him.  By doing so,  the police could then blackmail the minister for money by threatening to expose the boy and ruin his father’s reputation.  Eek.

Checkie owes a lot of money to his son’s school, his drug pusher, his landlady and several other friends, with no job and terrible withdrawl when he stops regularly getting high. In a panic and with a deadline from the police to get his friend’s son arrested while high, Checkie comes up with a plan to kidnap a young girl and ask for a ransom, which goes terribly wrong. Street Days is gripping and intense, frightening and exciting. Watching it felt made me feel like the walls of the theatre were closing in and there was no way out. Coming out of the cinema felt gave me the opposite feeling from when I had just watched Pepperminta; the world was suddenly more grey and dull.

I didn’t watch the 5th film of the day because I was tired (from sitting around all day?) and the film would’ve finished at 1.30am, when there would be no metro home and it was raining and I would’ve had to walk home in the rain. Also,  I met another press person and got a bit distracted talking about films etc.  Will report back tomorrow with more from the festival!

– Flossie Topping

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