Isabella Dalliston

Once again, we found ourselves at the Cambridge Shorts, now on its 8th installation. As usual, the crowd was suitably thespy and once again the music was reminiscent of a night in Fez. In a possibly deliberate juxtaposition, this was jarringly followed by the Strictly Come Dancing- style entrance from hosts, the sharply dressed Tom Nunan and Maria von Snatch. The pair took some time to warm up, but once they found their feet had the audience laughing raucously between films. Maria offered a much-needed injection of self-awareness of the ADC’s infamous tendency to circle jerk, complemented by Tom’s expert comedic timing. 

The Tortoise

First up we had The Tortoise by Alannah Lewis, a short surprising in its professionalism across the board. Innovative camera work and an excellent score provided the perfect backing for Anna Wright’s compelling performance, with the refreshingly original storyline allowing her to show a mixture of humour and pathos. The film only suffered from its place in the running order; coming first meant we only recognised its standout quality in retrospect. (*****)

The Cyclists

The second film of the night was The Cyclists, also by Alannah Lewis. In comparison with her previous short, it was less polished but succeeded in delighting the audience with its distinctly Cambridge brand of relatable comedy. At points the camerawork and sound were notably challenged by the difficulties of filming outdoor bike rides and small student bedroom conversations, however, the overall effect was as light-hearted and entertaining as a trip to Grantchester. (***)

100 Days Since

Next up, 100 Days Since by Kate Collins. This film stood out for its creative camerawork, sharp editing, and locations, managing to transform a college bedroom with astute set dressing. Harry Redding rose to the challenge of the demanding role of a young carer, bringing the interesting concept of confronting religion and mental health to life. The only shortfall was an issue endemic to the overall feel of the evening; a distinct focus on the (white) male protagonist, missing opportunities for the development of female characters. (****)

Uniform Party

The Uniform Party was the penultimate offering, providing light relief after some heavy subject matter. Dealing with the tribulations of dressing for an occasion, the film did not disappoint with its costumes, whilst the Director of Photography took full advantage of all the scenic (and often overlooked) settings that Cambridge has to offer, marred slightly by the oversaturation. The lack of dialogue did not detract from the short, thanks to the impressive comedic acting of the lead. (***)

Scene from the men's toilets at a ceilidh

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Mountain View

What (500) Days of SummerTaught Me About Love

Finally came Scene from the men's toilets at a ceilidh, a heartwarming end to the night. Another impressively professional film benefitting from close attention to detail and carried by its naturalistic dialogue delivered expertly by Dan Walsh and Joe Sefton. The unorthodox setting allowed for a clever display of sound recording, whilst the regular, well-timed ‘interruptions’ of the otherwise serious conversation by the kilt-clad extras kept the scene realistically irreverent. (****1/2)

Overall, the high standard of Cambridge film we have come to expect after two years of attendance was upheld, as we were given an inspiring insight into the talent and commitment students exhibit whilst still finding time to do their degrees. In the time that we have reviewed the shorts, the evening's sense of exclusivity has diminished, a heartening change which has allowed a more diverse audience to enjoy the films, however, this is a diversity yet to be replicated on screen.

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