Written and Directed by Xavier Guignard
Starring Anne Ribière, Alex Gwyther, Elizabeth Dyer, Díana Bermudez
Short Film Review by Chris Olson
Transplanting society using the medium of science fiction has long been an effective method for filmmakers and storytellers to make poignant commentary on the reality of the modern world. Some of the more exciting of these films use a premise which is simple yet compelling to draw an audience to an alternative world that is much like their own but with a significant twist. Such is the starting point for short film Little Thief, from writer/director Xavier Guignard, that manages to conjure a world that is wholly intriguing and topical.
In a world where 80% of the population are female, a couple struggle to maintain their relationship. Emma (Anne Ribière) and partner Leo (Alex Gwyther), start the film with a convivial planning of their after-work itinerary. After commuting into the city of London and being surrounded by a workforce made up of mostly high-powered women and subservient men, it becomes clear that there are hidden depths and secrets to the relationship of our central protagonists.
Bold, ambitious, and aesthetically stunning, Little Thief delivers on a fantastic scale when it comes to sci-fi filmmaking. There is a tension to the story which is palpable from the beginning and only becomes increasingly more uncomfortable for the viewer as it unfolds. Not only are the details of this alternative world revealed with spectacular fascination, the smaller, central plot is also developed into something of a gripping thriller.
This was all enhanced by a carefully constructed tone and atmosphere that borrowed heavily from previous films of the genre. The synth style soundtrack will be easily recognisable to any fan of classic science fiction, as will be the costumes and location choices. That is not to say Little Thief feels hampered by these connections, if anything they bolster the overall enjoyment and allow audiences to look for the modern references which are equally as impressive.
The timing of this short could not be better really, given the state of gender politics worldwide. Whilst Guignard highlights the role reversal in several places during the short, it would have been fascinating to see a more tenacious storyline that explored more angles of it...perhaps a feature length is needed.
From a performance perspective, I found Ribière to be a particular engaging on screen presence and her interplay with Gwyther was believable. The latter was strong as a physical presence but his delivery felt a little uninspired at times. This may have been a conscious choice to make his character seem even more impotent than he is but it left the movie lacking a degree of charisma. Elizabeth Dyer also turns in a strong turn.
A compelling examination into not only gender power struggles but also the overall human condition and its foibles. Little Thief creates a believable and engaging world for the viewer to explore, one which is as different and painfully similar to our own.
Watch the official Movie Trailer for Little Thief below...