Director – Marcus Markou – 2022 – UK – Cert. 12a – 12m
A profound meditation on our common ground, our differences, and the factors which apparently come out of nowhere to can drive us apart or bring us together – out in UK cinemas on Friday, March 10th
Life. Paths that unexpectedly cross. While cleverly doing exactly what it says on the title, this achieves a meditation on those meetings with other people that prove cathartic, those moments in which our lives can turn on a knife edge.
The first meeting we see, which is actually the second time they meet, involves two men at a cashpoint, one (Laurence Spellman, who is also one of the leads in the same director’s new feature The Wife And Her House Husband, 2022) losing it while the one in front of him (Sargon Yelda) takes what seems like a ridiculously long time to perform what should be a simple task of withdrawing some money. (Of course, there can be a reasonable explanation for this – the machine isn’t working, it swallowed the card, it’s been tampered with by fraudsters – but none of that applies on this occasion – the ATM appears to be working properly.)
Like the proverbial person waiting, we’re at a distance of several feet and can’t see what the problem is. We’ve all been there. It’s frustrating, and soon Spellman’s character resorts to racist abuse. There may be no excuse for that, but it’s true that the man at the machine was taking rather longer than he reasonably should. Tempers are frayed, rational thought gets put on hold, emotions, testosterone and (bad) learned behaviour take over.
It would be wrong to reveal what each of the the other four meetings entail or even in what order they are presented to the viewer – the first time you watch this inventive short, that’s half the fun. What can however be revealed is the fact that as we arrive at each of the subsequent four occasions (one of which, you will recall, is the first meeting so is actually a precedent occasion to the first one we see), the positions of the two men both in their own separate existences and in their lives where they come into close proximity with each other shift radically, incidentally furnishing both actors with a wide range to play with in the film’s brief running length.
Not only is this short very smart indeed, it’s one of those that you can return to over and over and ponder. There’s an awful lot of food for thought in the material.
And as if all that wasn’t enough…
(1) it’s showing with director Markou’s (equally good) feature, The Wife And Her House Husband (2022) and
(2) in a very clever initiative, this double bill is showing only at selected cinemas for the admission price of a mere One Pound. Which makes it even more of a good afternoon or evening out, I’d say. Details below.
Two Strangers Who Meet Five Times is out in cinemas in the UK on Friday, March 10th.
Trailer (Cinema For A Pound):