Midlands Review - Farside
By midlandsmovies, Jan 7 2019 01:47PM
Directed by Ash Morris
Farside is the new film from Stoke-On-Trent director Ash Morris who has taken his Midlands crew to Welsh seaside town Rhyl to film his latest movie.
Presented in a very real-to-life hand held camera style, we follow refugee Sayeed (BAFTA shortlister Amir El-Masry) who heads to a caravan park to be trained as an on-site security guard.
As well as this with get glimpses into others’ lives from the park including Annabel (Sacha Parkinson who recently starred as the lead in feature film Apostasy) and her angry drunken father Jez (Shane Attwool from Clio Bernard’s Dark River).
As Sayeed kneels in Muslim prayer, we hear anti-immigrant sentiment on a radio phone-in and see Annabel going about her business on the sea front. But not before she suffers an epileptic seizure in her caravan home which foreshadows further physical and mental themes later in the film.
As Sayeed heads to the beach he has recollections of the sounds of war and the director cleverly shows the horrors of the past without giving too much away too early in the story.
Soon, Annabel joins him and they have fun together at the seaside arcade games but on her return we find her dad has lost his job which he blames on Polish workers. With drunken violent outbursts and attributing his current predicament on others, he seethes in boiling rage as we, the audience, feel a sense of tension about to explode.
With a crew made up locally from Staffordshire University students, a change of national location and its international themes, Farside successfully mixes small town sensibilities with wider worldwide issues. And it’s to its credit, that the film handles each of these ideas well – never forgetting the past and future whilst tackling the theme of conflict, both small and large.
As the two friends grow closer, Sayed still has nightmares from his previous life in the Middle East but is about to face new nightmares in his adopted home from those around him.
Hard-hitting and heart breaking, Ash Morris has tackled a difficult subject with gusto but also with sensitivity. Small details like Union Jack flags and background sound effects show the contrasting lives of the main players and the production doesn’t flinch from the complex matters at hand.
Escaping from violence in war-torn Syria into further violence in the supposedly peaceful UK, Morris parallels the loss of loved ones in a poignant yet stark short.
With fantastic performances from the three main leads, Farside ends up being a powerful reminder of the world we live in and explores the demonization of people escaping tragic circumstances and war-torn fighting, but only to find more battles in their new home.