A discussion of the three shorts Charlotte Wells made before Aftersun: Laps (2016), Tuesday (2016) and Blue Christmas (2017). All were made while she was studying for an MA in film in New York, two of them sharing some themes with Aftersun. We discuss the way she sets up tension and meaning without dialogue and how this in turn helps create an air of mystery or uncertainty. She has an intuitive feel for the medium; the compositions, the lighting, the rhythms of a scene, and the editing all help create a textured world, full of understanding and feeling. In Laps she conveys a claustrophobic sense of sexual harassment that’s gendered, perceptive, critical. Through editing we see bare skin touching bare skin, without permission and without anyone else noticing We feel the horror of being in such a situation. Tuesday could almost be set after the holiday in Aftersun. In Blue Christmas, after the Elvis Presley song, we see her skill with actors, especially children. We discuss whether the film is more conventional or merely with a greater focus on narrative? All the interrelationships crackle. I love films by young people in love with cinema and the potentialities of the medium, and Charlotte Wells is clearly one of them, already mining a personal vein in a distinctive style and with a particular point of view. They’re marvellous and highly recommended.
Tuesday is available to see on MUBI: https://mubi.com/films/tuesday-2015?fbclid=IwAR0wGlhQ4-DUYBNMvKDTTOkB0LLkAGIQW4Lh568_iwM1ZfeVWBMBFgbVM2Q
Blue Christmas and Laps may be seen on Charlotte Wells own website: https://charlotte-wells.com/?fbclid=IwAR3K0NmpqTZXdKHszrxJ0hV3PfVB4tnSS9F6k1onY3PVn9afSadKuxZzL7U
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