FOR CLEARER SKIES
Firstly, I just want to say thank you to writer and director Alfredo Salvatore Arcilesi, for giving me access to a screener of his award-winning, 12 minute short film, “For Clearer Skies”. The film stars Charles Lo Manto and Kelly-Marie Murtha. For Clearer Skies is part drama, part science fiction. The story focuses on a man and his struggle with deciding whether or not to pursue survival, as his race nears extinction. Alfredo is one of several directors that contacted me recently, hoping to have some of his work reviewed. It’s always my pleasure to be a part of reviewing indie films that don’t get the exposure they should, so cheers!
The film opens with a man in a workshop, looking very ill and unaware of his surroundings. After a considerable amount of time spent vomiting, the man goes back to the vehicle he must have been working on. Shortly after, a mysterious woman enters the fold and things that were unclear begin to come to the surface. This is a really cool concept for a short film, there was a bit of Neill Blomkamp’s (District 9), about it. The audio levels are crisp and the camera shoots mainly still shots. Steadicam looks to have been used when following the actor, that looks good too. The color grading was perfect. It seemed very natural and the workshop made for a good location to shoot in. There isn’t any dialogue until the women enters about half way through, then things unfold in a really entertaining way, as she starts to converse with the man (these characters don’t have names, encase you were wondering haha).
The acting is solid and the style of audio chosen for the actors voices gives it the other worldly feel. Charles and Kelly will hopefully get the chance to work on something like this again, one can only hope a more extensive story is in the works. The aspect that stood out the most was definitely the makeup on Charles. Credit goes to Carlos Henriques, for a really unique look and that disfigured eye looked brilliant! Great stuff.
Some of the lighting in the first couple of minutes wasn’t that great. As the camera follows the man over to the work station, there’s a lot of shadow reflected from how dark the workshop is. It’s after he turns on a light underneath the hoist, that we get a better look at the actor. I know that’s probably intentional in creating some mystery about him, but the opening scene does that anyway and once the woman enters it’s much better lit. Given it’s only 12 minutes long, the short amount of dialogue conveys what you need to know. I would have liked to see it run a few minutes longer though. Maybe Alfredo could have incorporated a scene where the man is having some internal dialogue, which the audience would hear through voice over, telling us of this man’s struggle, that would have been cool.
I couldn’t think of a more deserving film to have won awards than For Clearer Skies. It’s a little disappointing that the idea wasn’t expanded on, because a full length feature is dying to be explored. Most of the technical aspects are good, the makeup is outstanding and those final shots of the film look wonderful. I’m stoked that I got the chance to see this awesome short and I will be watching and reviewing Alfredo’s new full length film “Canswer” in the coming days. I know nothing about it but I’m now very excited to watch it and that’s what these types of films can do!
My rating for “For Clearer Skies” is 8/10