Infectious Nihilism And Small Metallic Pieces Of Hope


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Infectious Nihilism And Small Metallic Pieces Of Hope
"There's a whole set of semiotics, tracksuits and jackets, Berghaus and Buckfast."

The gate is decorated with a mixture of tribal identities, the green and white stripes and the red white and blue of a different geometry. At the house differently enshrined the other colours of a very particular place, the yellow and green of wreck the hoose juice. The rest is a blur.

There's a whole set of semiotics, tracksuits and jackets, Berghaus and Buckfast. I don't know how any of it reads if you're not of the Clyde valley, our tribal geographies carved out by the icy masses of sectarianism and deindustrialisation. Glaciers whose mints seem to serve only to lade the eyelids of passengers across the Styx, communities once rich with the boons of the city's docks now reduced to the city's boondocks. The universals of youth and grief given particular flavour. The memorial is of a very certain kind, they are as much a constant of my commute as roads and rain.

Graeme Armstrong's script is given life by James Price's direction. Screening at 2022's Glasgow Short Film Festival, this is somewhat of a homecoming for Price who has screened and won at the event before. He has an eye for detail, for tone, one well suited to a script that gives us figures like Gaff Witches and The Good C*nt. Using Sunburst by 'progressive trance' outfit North Core Project over the credits is another hallmark, this might not be everyone's cup of tea but it's definitely something for those with a fondness for swedgers.

It closes with statistics about poverty and knife-crime in Scotland. It's that which means a moody piece centred on a teenager potentially becomes a victim of, if not worthiness, then a kind of good intention. Though set in the wild West of Scotland, the hands of funding bodies are felt in closing scenes that are more of PowerPoint and Holyrood than Peckinpah and Hollywood.

It's Airdrie, at least in places. I tracked down a street from the shape of its buildings, its current occupants, Gregg's orient as calendar, better living through semi-chemistry. The dozen lanes of the M8 give way westwards to a country invisible from the road, verging on wilderness.

Those wilds inside as well. Infectious Nihilism And Small Metallic Pieces Of Hope is a mouthful of a title, but it can be felt. What chromatic optimism is that? A compact disc? A folding knife? Nothing to do can be everything, but things can, do, change. Even when they stay the same. Price has a good eye and as a fan of his work I'm ever pleased when he gets the opportunity to use it. He's contributed to BBC4's Skint series (now available on iPlayer) and it's good to see GSFF continuing as an incubator of talent. It may have a big title, but it covers a large subject in a tight focus on a small story. It is a cutting piece of film-making, like the best short films right to the quick.

Reviewed on: 06 Aug 2022
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An impressionable youngster is thrust into a dangerous and adult world when he is initiated into a gang made up of older locals.

Director: James Price

Writer: Graeme Armstrong, James Price

Starring: Graeme Armstrong, Ciara Carberry, Kyle Gordon, Conor McCarron, Ashley Sutherland

Year: 2021

Country: UK


GSFF 2022

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