You can tell a lot from a short film. As the writer and director have short a small window to get their point across, it really tells you a lot about them and their style.
Penalty is from Italian director Aldo Iuliano and long-time collaboration partners Alessandro Giulietti and Severino Iuliano who wrote it.
It’s a slow start as we open in the middle of nowhere. A bunch of men about to start a football game in, what look like, less than ideal weather conditions.
They draw sticks to see who will be referee and, from the expression, you get the feeling he wanted to play.
After a while it starts to look like things aren’t as they appear. One side scores but no-one celebrates. Then, there’s a penalty decision and this is where we learn the truth.
We flip back to moments earlier, on the beach. You learn why these men (none of whom are actors) are really at this remote location. You learn why they are really playing football and, what they are playing with.
Penalty is a beautifully dark and atmospheric short film. Aldo uses a lot of slow-motion and the film is virtually silent at the start. This does get a little frustrating as you don’t understand what’s going on. You are just waiting for something to happen.
But you need to wait, you need to see what comes next. It will make you sit up and take notice. And then it will make you shrink back down as all is revealed.
Penalty is the sort of film you wish didn’t have to exist, that this tale didn’t have to be told. But it does, and it has been and all can be proud of their efforts.
Theatrical release dates: