The Bumbry Encounter (2019) Poster

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Great design and delivery of a strong sci-fi plot that is about us, not them
bob the moo25 August 2020
The Bumbry Encounter is a great example of what short films can do really well, because in only 13-14 minutes it delivers a really great genre film, with intelligence in the writing, and real quality in the delivery. It engages from the start through to the end and it does so on a couple of levels. Set in 1961, we join an interracial couple as they drive to something (a family event we understand). They get lost and then 'something' happens. The next day they call the authorities to report what happened, but the police are less interested on talk of aliens and lights, and more focused on the material facts of a white woman with torn clothing and a black eye after being out with her black husband.

Like they say all good sci-fi, this film is stronger for being about the people and not the supposed aliens. The majority of the drama plays out in one room, where the racial aspects are most important while also linking to the sci-fi plot - it is framed as an X-files style coverup, but at the same time the relevance of the 'explanation' is significant for the period (and for today too). It is cleverly done to touch on stereotypes and racist cultural assumptions, while also still engaging as a sci-fi drama. It is well delivered in performance and technical aspects; the camera movements during the 'lights' sequence is well done, adding urgency and changing the tone of the film. The main scene in the front room plays out well, with good performances - and the line "they already do" is as well delivered as it is written.

Very enjoyable short film.
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