Updated: Oct 13, 2018
★★★★★ Directed by: Florence Kosky Starring: Jonathan Forbes, Olivia Coleman, Amber Anderson Raindance Film Festival Review by: Chris Olson
Beautifully crafted and harrowingly topical, short film All the World's a Stage is loaded with heavy themes yet the filmmaking feels fluid throughout. Utilising plenty of movement, a sumptuous score, and intimate lighting, director Florence Kosky creates an absorbing atmosphere for audiences at the 2018 Raindance Film Festival.
Olivia Coleman narrates the fictional experience of an actor (Jonathan Forbes) whose life and limelight dims when he loses his crown. After struggling to find his place in the cast and finding little in the way of help or support, the actor retracts from the company and leaves a devastating hole in his wake.
Intentionally drawing plenty of parallels with the stories of people who commit suicide (helplines appear in the credits and on the film's website), All the World's a Stage takes a theatrical approach to telling a really important tale. By having Coleman's narration and a fairytale style to the storytelling, the audience is submerged into a tragedy without even noticing. As the plot gets darker and we realise there is a lot being said here, we have let our guard down enough to be thoroughly engrossed by the movie.
Forbes is a compelling silent star, roaming the numerous elaborate sets in light and shadow with plenty of gusto. Complemented perfectly by the always brilliant Coleman, whose voice plays like a soft breeze that gets increasingly frenetic. The other performers are wonderful at creating the background of a community whose loss is partly their own fault. Their initial hostility to the actor's situation is brutal in reflecting our own culture of self-involvement and our tendency to distance ourselves from the suffering of others.
What's wonderful about a short film like this is the powerful use of classic cinematic tropes to jolt the audience into contemplating something incredibly current and sombre. The whole piece feels like an exercise in fables until you dig deeper and let the ulterior motives unearth themselves, which explore the roles we all play, every day.