Directed by: #LouisaFielden
Written by: #LouisaFielden
Short Film Review by: #TomWilmot
Patrick is a short film written and directed by UK filmmaker Louisa Fielden. The director has produced several shorts in just over a decade, and with her latest effort, explores blossoming sexuality by presenting an awkward, innocent, and somewhat painful encounter. The 8-minute film delivers just enough punch with its simple premise to make it an affecting piece of work.
Florence (Kristy Philipps) is having her picture taken by Amina (Yasemin Özdemir), which she plans on sending to an older man she’s been speaking with, Patrick. The two schoolgirls try to get creative with their ideas as Florence desperately needs these pictures to be appealing. Amina eventually suggests a smuttier approach, which leads to a small yet significant sexual encounter.
The pairing of Florence and Amina couldn’t be odder; the former an obnoxious narcissist, the latter a timid, religious figure. It’s unclear exactly what their relationship is outside of the plot, especially given that Florence doesn’t appear to have a lot of respect for Amina and frequently talks down to her. However, these details don’t matter by the time we get to the heart of the events that unfold in their hotel room.
Patrick has a lot to say about people’s priorities and perceptions with regards to looks. Not only does Florence think it’s weird that she’s never seen Amina’s hair, she also comments that she should wear make-up so as to look better. Looks are everything to her, and this is shown through her obsessive picture-taking escapade where she’s relying on her appearance over her character to sway the elusive Patrick.
Similarly, Amina seems to ignore the way Florence treats her and is instead infatuated by her beauty. In this way, the short touches mildly on the shallow mindset that can so easily develop in people, particularly now in the age of social media. After all, it is an Instagram image that gives Amina the idea to take more risqué photos.
The intimacy that unfolds between the two during their final round of picture-taking presents a grounded depiction of sexual exploration. Though no notable action is taken, the sexual tension that arises is unmistakable, the introduction of which is handled wonderfully by director Fielden. The shifting focus of the lens between subtle character movements tells us everything that’s going on without the schoolgirls needing to say a word.
Even when working with a limited setting, Fielden helms the short film in such a way so that no two shots feel the same. There’s enough variety in the visuals to keep the small-scale narrative consistently engaging. Arguably, the short would still work without any dialogue; such is the skill with which Fielden has crafted the piece.
Both Philipps and Özdemir put in solid performances as they take on very different characters. The self-centred Florence is portrayed excellently by Philipps who manages to bring a tinge of sympathy to the character despite her frankly unlikeable personality. Özdemir, on the other hand, is far shier and more restrained, except in a few moments where flashes of desire pour through only to be quickly quelled.
With its minimal narrative, Patrick could have been far less impressive if in the hands of a different filmmaker. Fortunately, Louisa Fielden’s subtle and intimate approach makes this a surprisingly impactful short film. Her direction, along with stellar performances and a tight script make this one short worth checking out.