The Guardian have released the shortlist for their First Film award. The accolade is for the best debut movie of the past twelve months, and the shortlist showcases a great selection. It is worth noting that more than fifty per cent of the shortlist are ‘British’ films, and in the light of David Cameron’s damning comments with regards the fate of British independent film-making, it makes for very intriguing reading. Here’s a few of my favourites:-
Submarine – Richard Aoyade
Ayoade’s writing and directorial debut pulsates gleefully with all the careful influence of Truffaut’s new wave, and the work of Wes Anderson. Lovingly transposed to eighties Swansea, Submarine tells the story of Oliver Tate, a troubled teenager who represents all the neuroses and hang-ups most of us experienced in our childhoods. The film is ironic in part, and unapologetically sincere in others, and is more than worthy of the award. Ayoade, however, with his Jesse Eisenberg-starring Dostoyevsky novella adapatation The Doubleon the horizon, is not in need of the exposure, and lesser film-makers would benefit from the nod a great deal more.
Snowtown – Justin Kurzel
Snowtown was my highlight of last year. Kurzel achieved the enviable task of combining an unflinchingly violent account of the most notorious serial murders in Australian history with a chilling and thoughtful depiction of a family too weak to resist the influence of evil in their lives. Photographed bleakly and realistically, Snowtown forces the viewer to involve themselves in the minutiae of the crimes, leaving a guilty aftertaste. An arresting film, Snowtown is in with a chance for the award.
Tyrannosaur – Paddy Considine
If only for Peter Mullan and Olivia Colman’s exquisite performances, Tyrannosaur deserves all the praise it has received since its release. The film is brutal and affecting, but Considine, in an assured and convincing debut, manages to conjure award-winning portrayals from the actors in their own right. Filmed in and around Leeds, Considine chose to employ local residents in small roles and as extras, and represented the area lovingly in the attractive cinematography. The bittersweet drama, based on Considine’s short filmDog, Altogether, was well received by audiences and critics alike, and we will no doubt see more of the director behind the camera.
The result of the judging will be announced next week. The smart money is on Submarine or Tyrannosaur, but there is always the chance of a surprise. Any award has the ability to propel an artist quickly into the public eye, and as such judging panels can sometimes favour a contender who is in need of the attention. Regardless, my tip is Snowtown, my film of the year.
The full shortlist can be found here.
What do you all think? Was any film criminally left off the shortlist?