The visual side is not that value-adding but the dialogue and professional presentation is good
I'm not sure what brought me to the films of TS Ukpo originally but I know it is the sense of him trying things and exploring things that makes me keep coming back. The downside is that some of the films can be a mess as a result built on good intentions and experimentation, but the outcome of experimentation is as much about finding out what doesn't work and what does. This can be a tough thing on a viewer even if it helps him as an artist, but when things work I generally appreciate the effort and risks taken.
With Close Up I was also drawn by it being a work from Peter Cadwell, who I had enjoyed in The Fighter's Ballad. Here we have a poem delivered by a couple where they reflect on their relationship with one another. The delivery is mostly very nicely done; the poem is delivered in a mix of audio played over the top of images of the two, and synched with the lips so occasionally they speak the words themselves in their scene. Perhaps with the music it is laid on a bit too tick artistically, with the 'depth' of the material overegged by the music and choice of artistic shot of static people staring at art or water, however it does still work for what it is.
The subtitle of the short is 'A Visual Poem', and taken as such it does work because it is not a narrative or a scene but it is a poem with images. Technically these images are well captured and presented even if their selection is not particularly inventive, but I guess this is more about letting the poem do its work rather than getting in the way of its delivery. I also appreciated that the sound was good okay it is a little clipped due to it being ADR (I would guess, as a layman) but it is audible and clear, which is not always the case with Ukpo's films.
Watch it as a poem and there is content here worth exploring a few times, but although it is professionally done, the visual side of it perhaps doesn't add as much as it thinks.
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