Exchange And Mart


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

"Directors Martin Clark and Cara Connolly have an eye for detail."

"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
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A girl boarding at a remote highland school undertakes a challenging self-defence test, but things don't go according to plan.

Director: Martin Clark, Cara Connolly

Writer: Cara Connolly

Starring: Ewen Bremner, Grace Chilton, Emily-Jane McNeill, Lorne MacFadyen

Year: 2014

Runtime: 15 minutes

Country: UK

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