Film-maker Steve Simmons sent me this short film, his second piece of work, and how could I resist sharing it with you? It was shot in south London, in Lambeth in fact, and any hard-working city-dweller will recognise this scene. As a crossword fan, I found Crosswords‘ wry comedy compelling: its premise initially seems simple but spirals into something a touch murkier and more dangerous as events unfold. The witty combination of text and image really caught my attention and I think it’s bound to raise a smile with the readers of this blog.
Steve tells me that he was influenced by the widest possible range of movies, silent or otherwise: “Films that haved inspired me are Metropolis, Once Upon a Time in The West, City Lights, Escape from Alcatraz and I loved The Artist.”
That’s a very diverse list and you’ll notice that although Crosswords is a modern silent, it’s far from an exercise in mimicry. For one thing, it has text, but not intertitles: “I initially considered traditional title cards to display the clues and the man’s thoughts,” says Steve, “but eventually I decided it would work best if the text was incorporated into the action. I think it helps the viewer concentrate on the clues and keeps the story flowing.”
Steve would love to make another silent, he tells me, and not just a short film: “At the moment I’m writing another silent film script but it’s more of a science-fiction based story. One day, if I had the funding I would love to make a feature-length silent – that’s the dream!”