Directed by: #CKGoldiing
Starring: CK Goldiing
Short Film Review by: #BrunaFolettoLucas
Directed, written, filmed and starred by CK Goldiing, 61 Hugs is a refreshing documentary about the kindness of strangers and the positive side of overcome one’s anxieties.
This documentary starts with CK contemplating the aims of his challenge and how close he came to giving up. The hardness of it, we learn, as he discloses it to us in a voice-over, is due to CK's promptitude to overthink things. Finally, he reveals his challenge, his nightmare, which is to hug 61 one strangers between his house and Sheffield’s city centre.
The film was created to go into CK's YouTube channel, therefore it takes form of a vlog, where the camera is handheld and often we cannot see clearly the image on the screen. That does not matter as much since we become so involved in his quest and we feel the embrace he receives from kind strangers. From a pessimist point of view, CK’s nightmare could have turned real, but somehow we are proven wrong and the amount of warm-hearted people he meets is almost unbelievable – not only do they accept his hugs, but they also leave messages for his followers, "spread the love" is the most common one.
The film is set in two locations: his kitchen and the street. The cinematography is consistent throughout the two locations. When he is in the kitchen the images are not clear since he prefers to use claustrophobic angles, with close-ups on his consternated face and shaking hands. And as I mentioned above, when he is in the street, the camera is shaky; he even mentions that he is unaware if he is even recording. If you are an overthinker like CK you will probably feel uneasy when he hugs people, this is because of the intimacy that the handheld camera provides during those moments. We feel as if we were in the hug, as well.
Furthermore, the colour of the film is black and white, which causes different feelings in his two settings, dividing the film in two different sequences: the kitchen sequence and the street sequence. Although the kitchen scene is a little over a minute, it sets the tone and our expectations. The claustrophobic photography in black and white conveys a feeling of sadness and emptiness that is accentuated with CK’s voice-over as he explains his problem of overthinking. The next sequence, the street sequence, starts off without a diegetic sound, only a non-diegetic eerie song, and with fast cut images of CK leaving his house. His expression is tense – and we are tense. However, the tone changes abruptly as he dives in and asks a stranger for a hug. The stranger, Doug, is his first victim, and he accepts it without further hesitation. Suddenly, CK’s expression changes and we become aware of the sunshine that CK had commented on before. The sunshine adds a sparkle to the black and white that no longer conveys sadness, but a glow that pervades throughout the film.
61 Hugs is an intense 23 minutes packed with enthusiasm as we become invested in CK and his quest, as he shows more and more energy and eagerness to complete his challenge successfully.