MAN TO MAN
directed by Shehroze Khan
Man to man is a very touching film that has a very interesting, yet familiar premise: a father tries to teach his son what it takes to become a “man" and, eventually, through a very serious and difficult conversation they both realize that being a "man" doesn't necessarily have only one definition, it can mean many things.
Starting from a very well-structured script that manages to elevate this film besides the technical aspects, a lot of the quality and "action" of this film comes from the well-written dialogue. Dynamic, and unexpected, the dialogue brings emotion and tension, and each scene keeps growing through a very emotional climax.
Moreover, this story acted like a short film ready to present as a pilot in a pitch competition for developing a feature film. It made us remember the 2004 movie "Million Dollar Baby" (d. Clint Eastwood), particularly because of the topic, but also because of the seriousness of the subject and the powerful empathic impersonation of the actors that make the viewers feel sorry about the situation the son was dealing with.
The actors were such a marvelous choice. The casting was simply a perfect fit for the subject of this short film. You could feel their real chemistry in front of the camera, making the whole story look genuine and making us feel and live the intense emotions like we were in the same room with their characters. Needless to say that acting brings a film to life through the naturalness and credibility that also comes from the right indications of the director himself. He managed to direct their personalities towards the best impersonation of each character, so this film feels natural and convincing.
Speaking about the cinematography, the film's look was stunning and the angles used set the perfect perspective for watching this story. The lights were warm but also brought a neutral atmosphere that could've been both at sunrise, at sunset, or any hour of the day. It felt like the time had stopped for a couple of minutes so this discussion can take place between these characters.
Furthermore, the editing gives the power to make this film feel very flowy and pleasant to watch. The cuts are almost invisible and the various angles and number of shots definitely helped the editor to have a lot of puzzle pieces to play with. It wasn't an easy film to edit and if it ended up in the hands of the wrong person or a less inspired editor, it wouldn't have come out as good as this final edit is.
The cinematography and editing worked hand in hand as they established the perfect mood and atmosphere while sustaining the harnessing of the emotion behind each gesture and line of dialogue of the characters. Also, the use of flashbacks combined with the present images is quite marvelous and pleasant to watch, being at the same time a nice chromatic choice between the present that has an orange light and the flashbacks that are dark blue, being complementary colors. It's quite an art to know the precise time when to cut and what shots can be out next to others to make everything have continuity and keep the viewer glued to the screen until the very last frame.
When it comes to editing and visual effects, especially like the effects used when the boy tries to hit the punching bag for the first time and he "remembers” through some effects that look and sound like punches what happened to him. He tries to put himself back in the unfortunate situation to release the anger, but eventually, he doesn't succeed to do that, because his way of dealing with some situations in life doesn't necessarily involve violence.
The sound design was a pleasant surprise that reached to leave a powerful print on the way this film feels and is perceived. It enhances the quality of the final product and it demonstrates that this project can achieve higher standards of quality through each department to obtain that professional look.
Besides the ingenious use and placement of lights, the color correction should never be neglected or treated with shallowness, and in this piece of cinematography, this was also one of the most powerful features that helped in polishing the final product to look exquisite. Colors, light, framing, and camera movements, are all concurring to generate emotion and they were used smartly. Nothing has been used just for obtaining a nice look, everything had a meaning behind it and wise use.
Man to man was a very alluring short film, done in a very professional way that pleasantly surprised us. It has what it needs to become an award-worthy short film and we hope that the crew will continue to work in this formation. We hope the next step will be to turn this short film or another script, if they want to, into a feature film.
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