Directed by: #ChristopherBeech
Written by: Christopher Beech
Le Grand Club des Voyeurs Movie Review
Short film Le Grand Club des Voyeurs, from #filmmaker Christopher Beech, combines farcical laughs with a penchant for silent comedy that borders on the surreal. Its attempt to thread a lacklustre narrative ultimately leaves the piece feeling unsatisfying yet the moments of classic silent cinema are rewarding.
Beech plays an awkward nature photographer who is initially found snapping shots of wildlife and minding his own business. He soon stumbles upon a car with two people (Lynne Sellers and Stewart Crank) in, whom even though the car is off are gunning it - if you know what I mean. To further this embarrassing situation, three men (Chris Khosa, William Banks, and Ryan Porter) are already standing around the car, seemingly enjoying their voyeuristic tendencies. As our photographer starts to document everything he sees, it is not long before he gets the ire of his subject matter.
Absurdist and charmingly low budget, Le Grand Club des Voyeurs could have been an impressive Chaplin-esque comedy of sorts. The simple yet risque premise and easy set up meant the piece had a universal appeal and contemporary relevance that requires no explanation or exposition. Sadly, Beech chooses to intersperse inane dialogue and a mild narrative into the final third of the movie, which regrettably renders it innocuous.
The performances are uneven, with the three bystanders playing their roles dutifully (hats off to Khosa who will forever have “Wanker” on his IMDb page). Beech was intriguing when silent but the latter section sees him struggling to carry off the plot and character development. Initially, there was something of Rowan Atkinson’s Mr Bean to his portrayal which was full of potential and should have been explored more. The vocal delivery from Sellers felt wooden whilst Crank’s rage was at least mildly compelling.
A few odd choices within the #filmmaking were confusing, such as the baffling colours of the photographer’s shots of flowers and trees. Having these natural items appear in striking filters and colours infused an artsy feel to the #cinematography which felt at odds with the tone of the story. The sound design was also jarring, an uncomfortable array of annoying tunes and sounds.
Finding comedy in rude situations is fairly easy but delivering a silent film that is compelling in its unique depiction of universal human interaction is not. Had the #filmmakers held their nerve and stayed on this path, we could have witnessed something truly special. Instead, we become unwitting members of the voyeurism club and witness the unfolding of an unremarkable and silly story.