One Life Stand

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.

Cast:
With: Maureen Carr, John Kielty, Gary Lewis, Archie Lal, Alyson Orr, Rohanna Law, Ros McCue.

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.

One Life Stand

U.K.

Production: An Elemental Films production. (International sales: Elemental, Glasgow.) Produced by Karen M. Smyth. Executive producer, Owen Thomas. Directed, written, edited by May Miles Thomas.

Crew: Camera (B&W, DV), Miles Thomas; music, Bobby Henry; production designer, Ewen Duncan; art director, Claire Pidgeon; costumes, Carole K. Millar. Reviewed at Edinburgh Film Festival (Focus on British Cinema), Aug. 21, 2000. Running time: 119 MIN.

With: With: Maureen Carr, John Kielty, Gary Lewis, Archie Lal, Alyson Orr, Rohanna Law, Ros McCue.

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