Directed by: #KeifGwinn
Starring: #MalinPeter, Keif Gwinn
Things Are Happening and They Are Strange, written and directed by Keif Gwinn, is an independent film made as part of the Kino Kabaret movement back in 2016 to celebrate films created with little to no budget at all. The film indirectly asks the audience a question that they probably do not get asked every day: what if your friend told you they could fly? It’s a valid one and something that we may all have different answers for, which gives this film the potential to take an interesting angle.
Things Are Happening and They Are Strange follows Malin (Malin Peter) exchanging text messages with her friend Keif (Keif Gwinn) in a confrontation relating to the aforementioned question. There is a conscious effort to try and humanise the conflict through the use of voiceovers, however, despite this, the #shortfilm still suffers as the audience's ability to emotionally connect with the protagonist is hindered, as Malin is only reacting to a screen. Trying to capture an emotional exchange via text is no easy task, especially within a medium as visual as film, and therefore the script should have found another creative way for these two characters to discuss the matter at hand.
Malik and Keif’s voiceover performances are good and help bring some much-needed personality behind the words presented on screen but sadly, regardless of the voiceover, the audience's eyes are neglected by Gwinn’s direction in the process. Malin does not have much else to do on the screen other than sit down or walk from point A to point B, resulting in the audience only having the messages that appear on the screen to engage with, some of which were occasionally dull. The inclusion of props may have presented Malin with more tools to keep the audience captivated throughout, whilst developing character through #costume, mannerisms and mise-en-scène.
The #cinematography by #LudwigReuter is technically solid but for some reason seems fearful of getting personal with the characters within the story, which makes it harder for us to relate to these characters. Our eyes are never drawn close to anything specific besides Malin’s phone, something we are already viewing via the graphics on screen and this deprives her of being able to shine in a more subtle, physical performance.
The film's finale, where Malin travels to Keif’s home to confront him, has some minor writing issues but ultimately succeeds in raising a smile on your face, and warmth in your heart. This is beautifully complimented by #AlexanderDavidNorman’s uplifting “I Can Fly”, one of two tracks throughout the film, and manages to partially redeem the movie by the time its credits roll.
Things Are Happening and They Are Strange had the opportunity to explore such a weird conundrum, one that opens plenty of different doors to tell odd and wonderful stories. However, despite circling what could have been a funny, dramatic or interesting topic, this film struggles to truly get its feet off the ground. The characters did not have enough interesting personal moments throughout, and the final scene only highlights what the first two acts were missing - Keif and Malin finally interacting together in person. The story had promise, however it needed to be approached in a different way. This project is a good learning curve for these creative minds to hone their craft further, their technical competence is good throughout and, if applied in a more daring and creative manner in future collaborations, could bring up some very interesting work in the future.