Eye For Film >> Movies >> Exchange And Mart (2014) Film Review
Exchange And Mart
Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson
"Based on actual events" at a boarding school, Exchange & Mart is an amusing piece on female adolescence, at least as perceived in a particular place at a particular time. Period detail (pun-intended) abounds, but close-mapping to the educational experience of co-director Cara Connolly certainly helps.
The central element is 'the attack test', an educational ritual that was perhaps unique to the establishment and unsurprisingly banned. To equip its pupils to deal with the gamut of negative male attention, the school has staff to teach self-defence, from the nominally conversational to the overwhelmingly physical. It culminates in a practical examination, the girls sent into the woods alone in a way that'd perhaps verge on the allegorical if it weren't so fantastic.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, many if not most of the questions during a Q&A at Glasgow's 2014 Short Film Festival revolved around the details of the film - distilled the key information was "yes", "banned the year before", and because the usual laundry cycle was two weeks.
Strong performances from Grace Chilton and Ewen Bremner as Reg, schoolgirl protagonist, and Mike, woodland antagonist, anchor the film, but directors Martin Clark and Connolly have an eye for detail and for a first attempt at fiction (even one rooted very firmly in unusual truth) this is a good indicator of their talents.Reviewed on: 16 Feb 2014