The Lost Films of Bloody Nora short film review

★★★★★

Directed by: #SophiaDiMartino

Written by: #SophiaDiMartino

Starring: #SophiaDiMartino, #MarkHeap, #JaneMarney

Film Review by: #DarrenTilby



Sophia Di Martino’s #directorialdebut is an experience akin to a fever dream, minus the appalling illness and the possibility of projectile vomiting, of course. It’s intense and confusing, downright bizarre, and at times, frightening. A difficult film to categorise, but with inflexions of #horror and fairytale whimsy, The Lost Films of Bloody Nora is a wonderfully #macabre experiment in sensory film-making.


Nora (Sophia Di Martino) has had enough of her controlling and uncaring father and decides to go for a walk down to the lake. Whilst fishing in the lake with a bottle, and catching a small frog, she spots a basket floating along. Using a long stick to bring it closer, she discovers an old camera inside. Instantly delighted, Nora turns the camera on herself and begins to record her adventures with her new ‘friend.’


A marvellously acted piece, The Lost Films of Bloody Nora is bereft of dialogue, hence requires a certain theatricality from its performers. The small cast of three – consisting of Sophia Di Martino (who also stars in the recent Danny Boyle flick, Yesterday), Mark Heap (who’s been a staple of British television for what seems forever), and Jane Marney (seemingly a newcomer?) – more than pull off the unenviable task of putting to screen a stage presence that is outrageous, yet nuanced; and without it ever feeling out-of-place.


The excellent performances are complemented by Martino's excellent direction and visual storytelling. Both of which are superbly crafted and beautifully realised by #WillHanke's stunning #cinematography. And the perfect accompaniment to all of this comes in the form of #ArthurSharpe's wonderfully #carnivalesque #soundtrack. It all works so well. Everything here comes together to create the film's bizarre, slightly disturbing, almost #LeagueofGentlemen-like atmosphere.


For me, The Lost Films of Bloody Nora seemed to be about loss, and more specifically, the loss of a child. Nora’s discovery of the camera floating on the lake in a wicker basket, the scenes where she is recording herself push the camera around in a pram, even the grainy home video style of the film’s recordings suggest there is a deeper metaphor here than just pure escapism. That’s not to say escapism isn’t an important aspect of the film, it is. And that’s the joy in what Martino has achieved here.


The Lost Films of Bloody Nora is, on the surface, an enjoyable and strange montage of #tactile film-making; you do feel like you could reach out and touch everything on the screen. But if you dig a little deeper, there’s also much to uncover; much to infer. As far as I’m concerned, this is short film-making at It’s very best. It’s the kind of film that not only works as a short film but uses the fact to its full advantage. Beautiful in places, disturbing in others, but always #mesmerising. The Lost Films of Bloody Nora is a must-see #shortmovie and an outstanding #directorialdebut from Sophia Di Martino.