It doesn't happen often, but when it does it's sublime.
What am I talking about?
I'm talking about the discovery of a little short film that hits all the right notes and makes you feel better for having seen it. That's the case with Nathan Suher's Right There, an 11-minute homage to the 20's silent era that will have you reflecting upon everything you love about Chaplin films, Keaton films, or even a little bit of the lesser known Harold Lloyd.
As someone whose favorite film of all-time is Chaplin's City Lights, I find myself more than a little critical when another "experimental" silent film crosses my desk as someone tries to tap into the brilliance, wonder, and innocence of the 20's era of film. More often than not, they fail and they do so miserably.
That's not the case with Right There, a film that hits all the right notes with its opening credits and a film that held my attention for eleven minutes of pure cinematic bliss. The story is simple. It centers around The Guy (Ryan Hanley) who is on a quest to get the attention of a beautiful woman (Lauren A. Kennedy).
He tries. He fails. He tries. He fails. He tries. He fails.
It would seem fate is against him as his efforts to capture her attention often give way to funny little failures and delightful little scenes. As The Guy, Ryan Hanley has apparently watched a few short films or just instinctively realizes that the broad overplaying that seems to always accompany contemporary efforts to shoot a silent film are mostly just pointless caricatures. Hanley captures the required physicality, but he does so in a way that is vibrant, sweet, and absolutely enchanting.
Lauren A. Kennedy is perfectly cast as The Girl, whose look is made up to be a marvelous weaving together of both classic and contemporary. Kennedy beautifully captures a wide-eyed innocence that is simply impossible to stop watching. While the rest of the ensemble cast is equally spot-on, I simply must also give a special mention to the delightful performance of young Sarah Hecker, whose playfulness and spirit gives the film a tremendous spark and zest.
J. Poisson's lensing is nothing short of magnificent, capturing to tremendous effect an aura of the 20's while almost teasing the viewer with gentle contemporary touches. It's a unique and wonderful approach that Poisson pulls off quite nicely. Kevin Keough's original music playfully dances with the characters with seemingly each note matching the physicality of everything that unfolds on the screen.
Right There was recently nominated for Best New England Film at the Massachusetts Independent Film Festival, alongside another favorite of The Independent Critic Raising Matty Christian, and also screened at April's SENE Film, Music, and Art Festival. That rare film that dips into a genre not as familiar to contemporary audiences and does so successfully, Right There is a sweet and memorable film that I hope you'll check out if you get a chance.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic