Bafta Shorts 2019 review – a Hitchcockian thriller and erotic enchantment | Short films

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Time once again for that thoroughly worthwhile tradition: the touring compilation of short films nominated for a Bafta. Some of the best this year are Anglo-French co-productions. Something else we might have to stockpile.

My favourite this year is an animation. Jonathan Hodgson’s Roughhouse is a dramatised freewheeling anecdote with humour, emotion and charm, about three Birmingham lads at college in the 70s, the lairy house-share adventures they have and the crisis they blunder into when they realise that they have feelings. In a short space of time, Hodgson really does tell us a story.

The Field by Sandhya Suri (who made the excellent documentary I for India) is a beautifully made piece of work about a woman in Shahzadpur in northern India who meets her lover at night in the field where she works – a place that becomes the arena for economic woe and erotic enchantment, all at once.

Angela Clarke’s Bachelor, 38 is a documentary originally made for BBC Two, a terrifically funny and engaging interview with Bryan Bale, who looks back over his life without sentimentality or self-pity, talking about life, love and bereavement as a gay man in 60s London. 73 Cows is a sympathetic film about a cattle farmer who became vegan and made it his mission to find a decent home for all his cows: an engaging story, though its tone bordered on the mournful.

I felt a little frustration with Barnaby Blackburn’s intriguing drama Wale, which gives us the premise for a Hitchcockian thriller about a young black man just out of prison who gets a job with a sinister charismatic guy living in an expensive house in north London. It ends on a cliffhanger. Perhaps Blackburn can develop this as a full-length feature because I need to know what happens. The suspense is killing me.

• Bafta Shorts are available on Curzon Home Cinema from 8 February

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Source: The Guardian
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