As my previous post will speak to, I love short shorts – and I love the North West.
Heck, when I heard there was the chance to see the two concepts brought together as one at Manchester Film Festival, I was up those horrendous (but very pretty) stairs to The Mews as quick as my little legs could carry me.
Well, technically I was already in the cinema having attended the Shorts 1 showcase earlier that afternoon, but you get the idea.
The first of a short series of short blogs on North West shorts…
Sticking it to the man is often about defiance, but for Heidi this act of rebellion is a deeply personal act of remembrance.
- Runtime:10 minutes
- Director: Lucy Campbell
- Screenwriter: Lucy Campbell
- Producer: Barrington Paul Robinson, Radha Bhandari
- Cast: Chloe Lea, Aliyah Soyinka, Delroy Brown, Charlotte Comer
Based on the poem, For Heidi With Blue Hair, by Fleur Adcock, this beautiful short film tells of the school-girl who gets sent home from school for having dyed her hair blue…
or at least ultramarine for the clipped sides, with a crest of jet-black spikes on top)…For Heidi with Blue Hair – Fleur Adcock
And not least for it not adhering to school colours.
As we follow Heidi and her friend (missing maths in solidarity) over the motorway bridge and, true to the directive, home, we soon discover that this is no ordinary teenage trope.
For Heidi isn’t heading home to unsuspecting parents, ready to serve their own sentence on a disruptive daughter. Neither is she heading home to parents who are ready to enter into battle, all guns blazing, blinded by parental loyalty and defiance.
But a father, just her father, who, as he sits amongst sympathy cards, is clearly but calmly in Heidi’s camp, both parties navigating a loss and feeling their way through, as they mourn a wife and mother.
With gentle reasoning, it is the father who picks up the phone to the school, explains that they’d checked the rules: ‘coloured hair permitted’.
She’s not a punk in her behaviour, it’s just a style
No threats, no raised voices, just reasoning (as the poem states, it would have been unfair to mention your mother’s death,
Compromise reached, the colour could stay, the spikes had to go.
There are no tantrums in that glorious close-up shot as Heidi stands at the sink, head tilted under the running tap, with soon, spikes no more.
All parties satisfied, little school time is lost as they dutifully return. The delicious almost epilogue is one more sweeping shot and visit to the local hardware store on the high street, as the aforementioned supportive friend doubles down on her solidarity, seeks out a spray-paint can and, right there amongst the shelving, takes it to her own hair. Reader? In the school colours.
When a poem is as lovely and layered as this, recreating it in a different form carries risk. But so too does never allowing the text the chance to live on as the inspiration for another creative and equally lovely piece of artistry.
I discovered both forms on Saturday and adored them equally.
Three fantastic actors, four long shots in total, it’s ten minutes of simple, glorious story-telling, faithful to the source, and bringing it to life before our eyes.
Long live shorts.
For more details of the line-up at this year’s Manchester Film Festival, visit https://maniff.com/