Amid all the debate over DV vs. celluloid, especially in smaller industries, May Miles Thomas’ “One Life Stand” emerges as a perfect example of craft transcending technical origins. Made as a no-budget, personal exercise by the Glaswegian filmer, drama about a devoted single mother and her uncaring teenage son announces a considerable talent in waiting.
Shot on a regular camcorder (rather than DigiBeta) and in B&W (giving the pic a more “cinematic” quality), film looked OK in digital projection at its Edinburgh festival screening. Maureen Carr shines as Trise, a tough, loving and independent mother, separated from her idler husband (Gary Lewis), who gets her 18-year-old son, John Paul (John Kielty), a start in life as a model but gets little thanks as he starts to succeed. Full of humorous and touching moments, and far from being the downbeat grunge it sounds, pic has a rarefied, slightly abstract quality, thanks to Miles Thomas’ formal, fixed-camera style, fluid editing and pertinent use of close-ups. Bobby Henry’s ethereal music is a fine complement to the images, and there isn’t a weak link in the varied cast. Scottish accents, however, are extremely thick.