Being a fan of short fiction, it makes sense that I also love short films. Which is lucky for me, as the London Short Film Festival has started today (http://shortfilms.org.uk) and I can’t wait to get my fix of small cinema.
I’m all about cutting, cutting, cutting done to the bone when it comes to my fiction writing, and cinema at its best does this better than almost any other medium. A film tells a story primarily with images (at least, that what it should do…), and this is probably why it’s often compared to dreaming. We experience a dream visually, as if we are ‘watching a movie’ – though often we’re spectating and participating in the story at the same time.
This connection between cinema and dreams means that film has a direct line to our subconscious; we can read whatever we like into the images we see before us, and we bring all of our life experience to bear when making sense of what we see. As a result, every single viewer will see a film that is unique to them. The same applies to fiction too, of course, but film can drill down into that subconscious like a skilled interrogator.
So if you’re anywhere near London in the next few days, go to one of the screenings at the London Short Film Festival. Or ferret out a short film screening near you – there’s bound to be one somewhere.
In the meantime, to illustrate the dream/film connection, clap your eyes on this sublime film by Maya Deren and Alexander Hamid – Meshes of the Afternoon. It’s black and white, was made in 1943, and will BLOW YOUR MIND.
As Virginia Woolf said: ‘It is in our idleness, in our dreams, that the submerged truth sometimes comes to the top.’