With a small, strange, but equally lovely student town like Durham, it seems that as students, we have a shared perspective of student life. To searching on Overheard at Durham for a last-minute ticket to Wiff Waff, or queuing up at Paddy’s for curly fries – the culture of Durham truly is unique.
It is Prasanna Sellathurai who brilliantly captures this in his latest short film Two For One. With a cast of only 2 actors, the audience is still able to connect and relate to the events of the film. Harry Regan and Poppy Simpson capture those post-clubbing moments, the infamous conversations after a night out where feelings are shared and thoughts are explored. Regan’s body language seems all too familiar when discussing emotional topics, with zoomed-in shaking and nervous hand gestures. The audience is not simply watching a conversation, but reminded of their own place here at Durham University, with the challenges that face being a student.
Whilst the script focuses on how the characters have been feeling with delicacy and subtlety, there are moments of comedy that any Durham student can relate to. When Urban Oven’s two for one deal is mentioned at the end of the film, it seems to mark a closure of some sorts – for whilst one may be experiencing individual difficulties, there are things in life that we can all relate to. Or, when Alex (Harry Regan) jokes about rugby boys in Jimmy’s, the image of boys in their blazers and caps seems to be recognised in everyone’s mind after that line.
Sellathurai has passed in making the student experience individual, yet universal.
It is also the staging of the film itself that should also take immense credit. With the camera focusing on the two characters inside a bedroom, the close-up shots of their bodies as they sit up next to a bed means the audience can solely focus on those characters – and nothing else. With limited music playing, the camerawork allows the audience to be absorbed, rather than distracted.
Friendship, mental health, exam worries are all touched upon in a way that is familiar for all. Sellathurai has passed in making the student experience individual, yet universal.
We are lucky to have Durham Film Society operating here to create such works. To watch Prasanna Sellathurai’s Two For One, a screening will occur on 22nd January at 19:30 in St John’s College, alongside Sellathurai’s other pieces.
Image: Prasanna Sellathurai