Yard Kings

***1/2

Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Yard Kings
"This is grain as grit, the fuzziness of focus the grip of grime across everything we see."

Straight into the domestic violence, the children playing in the scrap. Cheering on the claw on the material handler, some luckless Euro-hatchback crushed. They find a chair that they can take for their den, and then "lucky day" an upgrade. Leather-like, reclining. Something akin to luxury.

When a plane flies overhead we cannot know what aspirations and dreams are carried with it, far above and away from the broken caravan windows and the mannequins of manky cans. High in transit above the mossy Transits, unreachable in so many senses.

Vasco Alexandre's frame is small and square, the fading of film? This is grain as grit, the fuzziness of focus the grip of grime across everything we see. It might be video, in an era of digital video smears like vaseline. Underneath that all a clarity, Jakub Rogala's camera and Zuzanna Pencak's sound giving room and space to performance. It might be the work of colour and correction but it still has the sense of some dirty now, some inescapable decades ago.

Elle Atkinson the heart of the film as Ellie, Caroline Lazarus her mother, in a tale that covers perhaps a few hundred meters and an impassable obstacle. Some metals can be tempered to the point of uselessness, brittle to trauma. Some are proofed by struggle, work-hardened and trapped in one shape. Others still are endlessly recyclable, malleable, others again have memory. Yard Kings is not an essay on metallurgy, but those workings still have weight. It is not an unalloyed treasure, purity of vision perhaps hampered by circumstance. Barbed wire barriers are not always merely physical. It is weighty though, and in its right light shines.

Reviewed on: 09 Oct 2021
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The film follows the story of Ellie, a young girl from a violent home, who decides to confront the situation.

Director: Vasco Alexandre

Writer: Vasco Alexandre, Billy King, Justin Scher-Smith

Starring: David Price, Elle Atkinson, Caroline Lazarus, Jermaine Ricketts

Year: 2020

Runtime: 16 minutes

Country: UK

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