Eye For Film >> Movies >> Sober Minds (2017) Film Review
Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
Charlo Johnson's short film is a celebration of Irish photographer Paul Hughes and the wildlife that he captures with his camera.
The animals presented here are British favourites, including ducks, herons and foxes but what marks out Hughes' work is the fact that most of it is taken in the wild spaces that still exist within urban environments. The director contrasts the concrete jungle people see every day and the animals that can also be found by those who have the patience to look for them. So, we see how a Dublin river, for example, becomes a scene of tension and murder, as Hughes takes shots of ducklings being preyed upon by gulls, while there is also the more gentle drama of a fox cub and its vixen mother.
Johnson mixes photographs from Hughes' book Doorstep Wilderness with footage of him taking photographs, while the photographer himself provides a narrative via interview. He talks about why he loves nature so much and how he approaches the animals by trying to see the world from their perspective. The film would benefit from a little more background on Hughes, as the conversations hint at things that would benefit from slightly more interrogation. It's as though the close collaboration with Hughes leads to an element of caution regarding what will and will not be covered. Nevertheless, he's amiable and interesting, especially when talking about his craft.
This is a very personal film but a treat to see such stunning wildlife photography filling a screen, enabling the viewer to appreciate the detail that might be lost in newsprint.Reviewed on: 13 Aug 2017