The home of Critic, Writer and Film-maker: Liam Walters

Sailor [17th Bradford International Film Festival]


Written By: Liam Walters

Sailor is possibly the most… Unique film that I have ever seen. Definitely the most unique film that I’ve ever reviewed. Whether it’s a good or bad film… I can’t quite make my mind up. I mean, I wouldn’t go see it again, or recommend it to a friend, and whilst watching it, I did want to leave part way through it (I didn’t, I decided if I was going to review it, I’d stay to the end). At the same time… It did actually keep my interest during parts, although did manage to lose it during some of the film parts away.

But lets start even before Sailor, with the short that was shown before the main feature, which was simply named ‘Self Help’. Self Help is a short about a middle aged man who is not in the fittest shape. We see that he has big confidence issues, especially when it comes to talking to women. At the start of the film we see him attach a fake beard and moustache, although this does not come into play until later on, when we see that he is actually leading a double life, with his alter ego being a confidence instructor. It all comes to a climax when he finally decides to try to speak with the girl he has a crush on, by revealing his alter ego.

The short is comical and interesting, developing the character who does not actually speak all that often. In fact, there is little dialog throughout the short, though still works amazingly well using interesting characterisation, scenery and simplistic music.

Now we move onto the main feature. ‘Sailor’ is a film that uses a mix of graphics and recorded footage, presented to us as a lecture. The first half of the film is presented through subtitles, with only backing music and necessary sounds. We then get spoken dialog, although as it is in a different language, the subtitles continue to allow the audience to understand what is being said. The film is shown in such a way as it seems like a collection of lectures about certain scientific principles, such as a person’s life shape.

These lectures are broken up with filmed footage of a man and his girlfriend, the man being the one who is giving us, the audience, the lecture. The film in itself is hard to take a grasp on, especially if your use to modern cinema, with characterisation and storyline, watching a film such as this could be a bit boring. Which is in fact one of the stronger points of the film.

As I stated, I did not enjoy this film. At the same time, I understand that this film was obviously not made for mass appeal in mind, and instead is targeted at a very specific and niche audience, and for that I commend it, for not trying to change itself into what everything else is. Although films like this may not be massively popular, I do hope they continue to grow and develop, as I feel it would be a loss to the independent film media.

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