By midlandsmovies, Dec 16 2018 12:34PM
Bee-Loved is a new short Midlands film from local directors Sarah Wynne Kordas and James Pyle and is a loving homage to the slapstick black and white silent comedies of the past.
We open on a janitor cleaning a corridor outside a room labelled “Director” which owing to some wet paint ends up being plastered on his own back in a Pepé Le Pew-style farce.
Akin to the premise of that cartoon, there is a story of unrequited love here too as the “smitten” man follows a passing woman as she strolls down the corridor. However, like the skunk himself, this man's affections are turned down despite his offer of a flower – which wilts in disappointment.
Using the silent film tropes of intertitles for dialogue and description, as well as a scratched celluloid aesthetic, the film authentically captures the period in its look and style.
The short moves forward as the woman applies make-up and the reversed “Director” paint imprinted on the janitors jacket appears to the woman via her small mirror. Seizing an opportunity to impress this apparent head-honcho she returns to the man.
The silent era motifs continue with suitably archaic fonts for the titles and the cinematography has a used vignette filter taking us back to the look of the classic films of the period.
However, the film spins off into unchartered territory. We’ve already mentioned old cartoons and it is at the halfway point it becomes a more surreal affair as an animated bee lands on the flower. With a mix of live action and animation we are whisked back to references of Gertie the Dinosaur whilst the bee seems heavily stylised on early Mickey Mouse and his Disney debut in Steamboat Willie.
The slapstick continues as the bee circles the two leads and the great original score by Midlands Movies Award-winner Pav Gekko is another fantastic nod to silly symphonic jazz soundtracks of a bygone time.
Similar to previous Midlands short Just Desserts – with some participants involved in both – the 3-minute short packs a lot heart and fun into its runtime. Bee-Loved also wears its love for the silliness of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin on its sleeve and combined with a unique animation style is a beloved love letter to the past.