Crypsis

****

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Crypsis
"Club scenes can often feel forced and inauthentic but additional atmospheric sound design, strong production design and kinetic camerawork from cinematographer Gordon Campbell generate a believable ambience as Ayo's experience slides from exploration into"

Christopher McGill's short film - co-written with Angela Ross - takes us into the headspace of gay asylum seeker Ayo Alembe (David Souk) as he tries to secure his new life in the UK. This means repeatedly revisiting, via Home Office interview, the traumatic events that led to him flee his homeland in the first place.

Immersive use of sound design from Marco Biagini and Rikki Traynor, helps us to understand how even the apparently measured questions from the interviewer (Anne Bankier) trigger unwelcome memories, while editing that cuts repeatedly between Ayo's eyes and the interviewer's mouth also ratchetts up the tension. The cold, clinical space of the room provides contrast to the second part of the film when Ayo has a night out in the queer underground scene of Glasgow in a bid to get the 'evidence' of his sexuality they require. Filled with the throb and heat of club life, it will see his trauma triggered in a different way.

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Club scenes can often feel forced and inauthentic but additional atmospheric sound design, strong production design and kinetic camerawork from cinematographer Gordon Campbell generate a believable ambience as Ayo's experience slides from exploration into something more nightmarish.

The title - a term defined on a title card right at the start of the film as, "The ability of an animal to avoid observation or detection by other animals", seems unnecessarily oblique for a film that is otherwise refreshingly straightforward in its ideas. Although it feels complete as a short film, there's plenty of room for expansion, leading me to wonder if this might be a taste of a longer film to come - if so, it would be more than welcome.

Reviewed on: 14 Oct 2019
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A gay asylum seeker finds his past trauma triggered as he tries to provide evidence of his sexuality to the home office.

Director: Christopher McGill

Writer: Christopher McGill, Angela Ross

Starring: David Souk, Anne Bankier

Year: 2019

Runtime: 9 minutes

Country: UK

Festivals:

SQIFF 2019

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