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The East End Does Film: Halley

In the first of six East End Film Fest reviews, HM's Alex dishes on Halley

The East End Film Festival, one of the largest film festivals in the UK, took place in London from 25th June – 10th July, and I was lucky enough to be invited to bask in some of the best films I’ve seen in a long time.

As the name suggests the festival, founded in 2000, takes place in the East end of London, where the art house cinemas open their doors to audiences from all over and invite us all to see films we that may not have had a general release in the UK.  

HALLEY The East End Does Film: Halley

My first ever film at my first ever East End Fest was the morbid, Halley (2013).  Beto (Alberto Trujillo) floats through the gym, where he works as a security guard, like a ghost; the contrast between the agile movements of the clients against this lank, eerie figure and protagonist is akin to something out of a Spanish language horror film.  Is he dying or already dead?

Marred by loneliness, Beto spends his time treading the hallways of the gym, watching people work out - the contrast between his still and decaying presence against their active, heaving bodies - it’s almost uncomfortable to watch.  A third of the way through, the story gives way to magic realism when an unconventional story arc takes place.  It’s a sad and quiet observation of a man who has been robbed of all the elements that makes us human, in particular, human contact. Beto is more or less a zombie.  One evening spent in the company of his gregarious boss teases the notion of experiencing something close to intimacy and even passion but unfortunately for Beto, he doesn’t have the privilege to truly appreciate it.

Director Sebastian Hoffman’s debut film is stark, depressing and marginally dreary to the point of tedious. For example, we are forced to witness Beto’s grueling daily routine of ridding himself of maggots and rotting flesh. Somewhere in there is the message about taking things for granted, and how it’s better to be dead than alone.

Overall the festival boasted an impressive multi-platform itinerary, this annual event offers everything, from free pop-up screenings to industry master-classes and workshops.  It’s a true film lovers’ dream and even if you’re not a cinema buff, it’s still a chance to support independent cinema and sneak a peak at the world’s future award-winning auteurs and on-screen talent.

Words: Alex Kessie/@alexandrakessie • Images: Provided by EEFF

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