Set entirely in, or around, a driving instructor’s car, Nils Vleugels’ (un)romantic comedy Hellingproef (Clutch Control) follows its lovestruck tutor as his utter adoration for one of his pupils leads him on a journey of obsession, with some unexpected consequences. Shot in just two days with a very small crew, this is a dark Dutch comedy set to make you laugh and cringe repeatedly throughout its breezy 13-minute duration.
“I like how a confined space forces the characters to resolve a conflict
A directorial debut for Vleugels, the writer/director set out to make a one location film initially with the aim of keeping crew and costs at a minimum, whilst also developing his confidence behind the camera. However, tapping into his love of single location films/tv episodes he used his knowledge to make these restrictions work in his favour and create a warm and compelling short.
“My favourite Hitchcock film is Rope“, Vleugels admits, “and I Love Breaking Bad’s ‘ The Fly’, Mad Men’s ‘The Suitcase’ and The Chinese Restaurant episode of Seinfeld. I like how a confined space forces the characters to resolve a conflict as they are bound together in the same place at the same time”.
Clutch Control might be the first time we’ve witnessed Vleugels take directorial control of a film, but it’s certainly not the first short he’s been involved in. Writer of the two previous DPPLR films we’ve featured on Short of the Week, genre-pieces Rotor and Arrêt Pipi, he obviously has a solid understanding of what makes an effective short film and is hoping to put this experience to good use with his next short Weeën (Labor) – a film based around his own experiences of becoming a father, that’s set to premiere at the Netherlands Film Festival on September 21st.