Drama | 26mins | English (UK) | 2016
Directed by: Charlie Parham | Written by: Amrou Al-Kadhi
Starring: Amrou Al-Kadhi, Nicholas Gleaves, Amma Boateng & James Wallwork
Two men, three nights, and an affair that unravels in the night-time metropolis leaving them to face their biggest fears.
Why you should watch it:
- The use of Soho, namely the effects of gentrification and its fracturing, to emphasise the characters’ mental and physical states
A little more insight…
When it came to watching Nightstand, I had a sense of what to expect, namely because I had read up on it due to the involvement of Stephen Fry and Sir Ian McKellen but I did my best to distance myself from what I have read. However that is hard to do when you know that something is based on the writer’s own life (something I have done myself in the Mr Saint-James blog) and the fact that it comes with an underlying agenda – Soho.
It cannot be denied that Soho has/is losing its heritage and vibrancy. Pubs close here and there. Clubs are knocked down. At times it’s entirely justified i.e. better transport links, but to many the benefits of London’s nightlife is overlooked – take the recent debacle with Fabric! With the introduction of the night tube and a new mayor, hopefully this is something we’ll see real changes in, whether it is within Soho or elsewhere in London.
Some may say that there is no need for an area, a pub or a club to be branded as LGBT or LGBT friendly but that is not the case. We like to think that we’ve come along way and become a tolerant and equal society but that is far from true. Whether it is the young gay who cannot go home or the middle-aged man hiding in a heterosexual marriage, these places are somewhere they can go to be themselves. If all is lost then where will they have left?
I’d also argue that having an area with the identity and heritage that Soho has acts like a beacon of hope for those around the world who are targeted and persecuted by their own governments. We are fortunate that we live in a society that doesn’t, but that doesn’t mean that social attitudes are as equal as the legislature appears on paper.
Therefore there is a need to fight for Soho, not just by those who identify as LGBT but also by those who want to ensure that social attitudes do not reverse, by those who want to safeguard London’s nightlife in general and by those that want London and the UK to be able to proudly stand on the world stage.
I’m going to try and reel things in a bit… but a film that get’s me thinking and presenting my opinions is a film that I’d recommend.
So how does the film stand if the message wasn’t so clear? Quite well I’d say.
Plot-wise it doesn’t strive to cover new ground as such (an affair, a married man etc) but it is entirely believable, be it the progression of the relationship between Ramsey and Rob (with hints of what’s to come early on), and makes perfect use of it’s location to present these characters as being lost and alone. It is what drives them together.
What makes this work is the performances themselves which feel grounded, be it an awkward line here or there or the subtlety of the movements such as when Rob looks at Ramsey naked – the conflict and war within is evident.
There isn’t over the top sex or drama – this is an intimate look at an affair drawn from and constrained by a fractured community.
Things that bugged me:
- Why is “Home” calling Ramsey so much?