Thursday, 24 October 2013

57th LFF Review: Late at Night - Voices of Ordinary Madness

Director: Xiaolu Guo

Synopsis: A documentary on a select few of East Londoners talking about their lives and their feelings on the UK’s capital.

Experimental in sections, Late at Night is an grating film mired with an uneasy tone. Crossing between a fake newsfeed of past news stories and interviews on the East End streets, the film is relatively recognisable with its form. However, the newsfeed is presented in a Warhol-esque collage, plastered with quotes from famous philosophisers. With a barrage of information it does work at reflecting the drip-feed of contemporary news, although it’s unavoidably jarring.

The actual interviews are short and frequent, some damning of the city, others kind to what it offers. In 9 out of 10 of the interviews, all interviewees work and live in poor areas. Rather than seeking sympathy, the majority of these interviewees protest the systems of the nation. It’s rather depressing to hear story after story of damnation, even more distressing to hear the report of an act of violence.

On occasion the film reminds of the danger on the streets of our country, with people too angry and naive to behave neighbourly. Along with testimonies from some agitated citizens (one of which felt the need to strangle someone), the “newsfeed” churning out reminders of the London riots, gang wars and petty criminals, it leaves you feeling nothing but scared and sad.

Also posted on LiveForFilms

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