Directed by Ben Davies
Written by Iestyn Davies, Ben Davies
Starring Ollie Parsons, Nathan Apps
Review by Hannah Sayer
Ginger, directed by Ben Davies, is a short Sci-Fi comedy that was shortlisted as one of the final set of films in the ShortFilm48 2015 competition. Filmed and edited entirely in just 48 hours, this film experiment showcases the talents of a group of teenagers aged 16 to 18 as they create an odd but funny story of an alien’s journey to earth for the perfect root of ginger.
This short film focuses on only two characters; a human and an alien, played by Nathan Apps and Ollie Parsons. While walking through the idyllic and peaceful Shropshire countryside, the human notices something crash to the ground in the distance. The alien is introduced into the narrative, as he informs the human that his spaceship has crashed on earth, leaving him stranded. The rest of the short is entirely conversation driven, allowing for understated humour to be at the forefront of the dialogue. The viewer learns that the alien is a chef who has come to earth to collect the spice ginger, as it is the only place in the universe where the perfect root can be found.
The opening of the film parodies the Star Wars opening sequence and the Sci-Fi genre as a whole. This is effective as it enables the scene to be set quickly without wasting too much of the restricted running time. At times, there are clear pacing issues where the film feels rushed, but this is understandable considering the timing constraints laid out by the competition. As the human first notices the crash and gets closer to the aftermath of it, the smoke effects used and the atmospheric, eerie music reinforce the Sci-Fi aspect of the genre. However, the slapstick comedy used straight after he runs into the force field and the sharp script demonstrate that this short is more impressive when the focus is turned to comedy and parody.
The film is shot entirely outside so the viewer can marvel in the beauty of the Shropshire countryside. The main strength of the short is in its cinematography; the good use of camera work and the impressive panning shots highlight and draw particular attention to the landscape.
The cleverly executed ending is notable for a film of such a short nature as it causes the humour to shift from light to dark with the utterance of two single lines. This understated humour that carries the piece allows for the young filmmakers to truly excel in such a demanding time frame.