Short of the Week

Epithet

Inspired by the Young Vic theatre’s recent production of Edward Bond’s play Bingo, Epithet, starring Patrick Stewart, tells the story of a contemporary poet with a dubious background.

An adaption of a theatrical play centering on the last months of Shakespeare’s life doesn’t instantly sound like something that would suit the short film format. Yet, Angus Jackson’s bold short Epithet, inspired by the Young Vic theatre’s recent production of Edward Bond’s play Bingo, proves to be a (literally) gutsy and refreshing addition to the medium.

With its origins on stage and a sleazy lothario at the core of its plot, it’s hard not to watch Jackson’s film and be reminded of fellow theatre-to-film adaptions In the Company of Men and Your Friends and Neighbors from director Neil LaBute. Like these films, Epithet employs snappy dialogue, bad language and the odd moment of controversy to hook its viewers, yet like LaBute’s early work, it’s the performances that really stand out.

With a cast taken directly from the stage production (also directed by Jackson), it’s a rare and somewhat magnificent sight to see an actor of Patrick Stewart’s magnitude taking the lead role in a short film. With a character-driven narrative at the heart of Epiphet, the films success rests largely in the hands of the performances and Stewart and his fellow thespians do a sterling job of giving this all too brief a story some real depth.

Shot on the Arri Alexa, the same camera recently employed to shoot features like  Skyfall and The Avengers, Jackson and his DoP David Higgs opt for hand-held shots that stick close to their performers and provide an added level of realism to Epithet’s gritty narrative. Assembled with uncomplicated and precise post-production provided by The Guardian’s video producer Christian Bennett, Epiphet is a short of solid production values that is all too happy to put its focus on story, instead of ground-breaking techniques.

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Editor on Short of the Week | Cohabiter on Directors Notes | Communicator at @kung_fuelvis
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  • http://jammymonkey.wordpress.com/ Paul Duvall

    Shocking but compelling thanks to the performances. I enjoyed watching Stewart play such a subtly despicable character.

  • http://twitter.com/kung_fuelvis kung_fuelvis

    Glad you enjoyed it Paul – Epithet won’t be a short that everyone will enjoy, but you won’t see many better performances all year. And as you say, it’s not often you get to see the mighty Patrick Stewart play a character like this.

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    JHON: DID YOU ENJOY THAT?

    REBECCA: PRETTY MUCH

    JHON: WE MUST DO IT AGAIN
    SOMETIME

    REBECCA: YEAH

    JHON: SOON?

    REBECCA: XXXXXXXX

    JHON: WHEN IS YOUR TRAIN
    LEAVE?

    REBECCA: XXXXXXXXX

    JHON: AND IF YOU MISS IT?

    REBECCA : XXXXXXXX IN A CITY
    BETTER PLACE TO SLEEP

    JHON: IF YOU WERE ALONE
    PERHAPS BUT YOU ARE NOT

    REBECCA: THAT’S TRUE?

    J: YEAH, YOU ARE HERE WITH ME

    R: I’M OFFERING XXXXXX JHON

    J: I’M OFFERING MY BED
    REBECCA. I WOULD TAKE THIS OFFER

    R: PERHAPS IN ANOTHER TIME

    J: FAIR ENOUGH

    RICHARD: ALLAN

    J: IT IS PROMESED TO BE
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    R: SO DID YOU CALL HER?

    J:XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    XXXXX

    R: SO HOW LONG EVERYTHING IS
    FINALIZED?

    J: PERHAPS WEEKS, WHO KNOWS?

    R: ARE YOU WORRIED?

    J: ABOUT THE DIVORCE?

    R: NO, ABOUT ALLAN’S XXXX

    J: GIVE ME SOME CREDIT RICHARD,
    ALLAN IS ALWAYS OVERWEIGHT, OVERSTRESSED OUT BLIND THE ACCOUNT. NOW I HAVE XXX A FIGHT SINCE I WAS TWELVE BUT
    I WOULD BE DEEPER DISSAPOINTED IN MYSELF IF I COULD XXXXXXXX

    R: NO, IM JUST OBSERVING IT IS BECOMING SOMETHING
    ABOUT COMPULSION FOR YOU THE FIRST WAS
    CAROLINE AND THEN THE OTHER ONE…

    J: RACHEL. ABSOLUTE GODDESS

    R: AND NOW THIS LATEST

    J: WOW PERHAPS IT IS BUT IT IS XXXWARDS GOING IN
    A MIND OF A RESPECTED POET OF THE MIDDLE YEARS. YOU KNOW THERE IS
    SOMETHING IN THAT DESCRIPTION THAT CAUSES
    WOMEN OVERSEEING THE AGE XXXX TO MOISTEN WITH LUST. ALTHOUGH I HAVE TO ADMIT IT: IT CAN BE EXHAUSTING
    KEEPING ON THE PRETENDS THAT THERE IS MEANING IN EVERYTHING.

    J: I WAS WITNESSED TO SOMETHING XXX UPSETING TODAY

    R: OH

    F: MEANING…

    J: XXX, PROFOUNDLY DEAD. XXXXX. WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON OVER
    THERE?

    J: OH NO, WHAT IS SHE XXXXXX
    THERE?

    F: I THINK IT IS A XXXX

    R: THAT’S AWFUL

    J:BUT HOW PROFOUND DEATH,
    THOSE WHO WITNESSED THE DEATH WILL BE FOREVER MARKED BY IT

    R: INCLUDING YOU

    J: OH YES… BUT IT IS NOT THE
    NATURE OF VIOLENCE? IT’S POWER, EVEN IF YOU ARE ONLY AN OBSERVER IT REACHES
    INTO A PLACE BEYOND ANALYSIS, BEYOND THE INTELLECT. INSIDE IT GOES TO THE VERY
    CORE… I’M SORRY

    R: DON’T XXX, DON’T XXX. IT DOES AFFECTED YOU GREATLY

    J: IT IS TRUE, I FEEL THINGS
    WITH GREAT ENFORCE AND PASSION , PERHAPS IT’S GOOD FOR ME . IT IS A
    CHARACTERISTIC XXXXXXXX XXXXXX, AND YES, IT IS ONE…THIS IS WHAT I AM.

    R: … A POET

    J:… A POET, YES

    R: XXXXXXXXXXXX?

    J:NO

    ALLAN: DID YOU XXXX MY SISTER
    ACCOUNT ALLAN? DID YOU? DID YOU X XXXX YOU PROTECTED YOU FUCKING FAGGOT ? YOU
    XXXX YOU FUCKING FAGGOT? YOU XXXX?

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    please I need your help. I’m working on that shortfilm, I’m a student of english and I decided to transcribe the audio becuase I did not find the original script. It is for an academic assignment. I nedd you english native speakers to edit what i have done so far, i I have had some difficulties,,,,thanks