Monday night saw the debut screening of Give The People What They Want, a short-film created by a group of Salford alumni.
Give The People What They Want was screened at the University of Salford campus at MediaCityUK on Monday night.
The short film follows the story of Mary and a scandalous series of events thanks to a love letter. But this is not a typical love story.
Set upon a backdrop of pastel colours and vintage hairstyles the overall look of the film is instantly engaging taking the viewer into a 1950s dream world where smiles may not be as perfect as they seem.
Warning the following review contains spoilers. If you want to watch the film first it can be found here.
At first, the vintage aesthetic comes across as the playwright’s ode to classic Hollywood.
However, the pastel pinks and baby blues help contrast the dark undertones and violent visuals that unfold as the film progresses.
Some settings may look familiar to eagle-eyed viewers with scenes being filmed in multiple parts of the University of Salford’s Peel Park campus.
The vintage aesthetic is achieved by it’s props and setting but dominantly by it’s costume design with their designer Ellie White creating attire that looks like it came straight from the 1950s.
Give The People What They Want ponders ‘if lies became truth would the liars want them to be true?’
This initially confusing concept is prominent in the bedroom scene with two narratives being told at once leaving the audience to decide which they believe to be true.
This element was important to the director/playwright of the film, Jessica Parsons who stressed that she wanted to keep the film open to interpretation.
When making the film Miss Parsons set out to ‘make something wonderful out of nothing.’
The film is silent accompanied by Killer Shangri-Lah by Psychotic Beats which very much narrates the story like a narrator typically would.
The visual matching with the lyrics ‘I got you / I tear you apart’ during the fight scene is a nice touch showing how the song very much reflects the action on-screen.
The pacing of the film keeps the audience engaged with quick cuts between scenes demanding the audience’s attention.
Camilo Ribadeneira‘s editing of the film is a crucial element to its delivery with his style creating a music video-like piece which still holds it’s own with it’s distinct visuals and engaging narrative.
In some ways, Give The People What They Want is a sort of ode to classic Hollywood with the blood sprays used in the fight scene being similar to that of old cinema.
I am reminded of the likes of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ with visual effects not being gory but sensationalist and over-the-top in nature.
The film manages to not take itself too seriously yet still keeps the audience focused on it’s narrative rather than it’s satirical humour.
The costume worn in one scene by Neil Jones’ character Brad references 1960s Italian film, Blood and Black Lace.
The film’s ending is one that, despite foreshadowing and somewhat expected by audience members, still manages to hit and potentially shock some viewers.
Give The People What They Want is a look at the world through rose-tinted shades that slowly start to break.
It’s safe to say that the film delivers on it’s namesake to give the people what they want.
Photo credit: Camilo Ribadeneira