Directed by: #ARUgas
Written by: AR Ugas
Meeting the father of your beloved can be a tumultuous time for any young stud but rarely does it get as tense as filmmaker AR Ugas's short film Shame My Name. Full of nuanced threat and great performances, it's a powerful exploration of love and honour.
Corey Thompson plays a young man in love with Georgia Neath's character. However, the pair struggle to find time to be intimate, without resorting to expensive hotels or Airbnb's. The reason for their need to find suitable locations is the father (James Bryan), a mysterious Albanian man who is unlikely to make the first meeting-of-the-boyfriend easy. As the two men get to know each other during an intense sit-down in the kitchen, there may be more at stake than good first impressions.
Pragmatically simple in terms of locations and shots needed, and without much aesthetic showboating, Ugas knows the strengths of his short film lie in the characters, story, and actors. The audience is immersed into the romance of the two younger characters quickly before we see one of them thrown to the lions, so to speak. This unbalancing is intelligently handled and makes the main bulk of the film far more effective. Threat is used sparingly but efficiently, creating a palpably anxious atmosphere for events to unfold within without edging into crude theatrics.
James Bryan is a tour de force on screen, navigating the controlled anger of his character brilliantly. It's a performance that grows, builds, and evolves before our eyes into something utterly compelling and convincing. Corey Thompson delivers a memorable turn as the young man in love, coping well with the dramatic ferocity of the scenes. Georgia Neath, whilst only in Shame My Name for a short while is also great, ensuring viewers are attached to the central love story.
Themes of love, power, loyalty and honour are played with in Ugas's story. How far a person would go to protect the one they love is a strong cinematic trope, and here we get that with both the central male characters. Seeing them riff off each other in the quest to protect Neath's character is skillfully crafted. As viewers, we are able to explore both sides of the argument and perhaps journey into our own value system.
This is meant to be episode one of a series of short films called Chronicles from AR Ugas. What the rest will look like we eagerly anticipate but if they are anything like Shame My Name, audiences will have a lot to look forward to.