By Michael Ferraro | March 25, 2006

Mark (Steven Geller) is a student that takes a journey to the coastal land of Cornwall to visit his stepfamily living with his father. Once there, he is unsurprised that his father is nowhere to be found, so he tries to make the best of it with his depressed stepmother and his fun-seeking stepbrother. Writer/director Tony Hagger constructs an interesting premise, then let’s the actors run with it. Watching this film after seeing Alexander Sokurov’s “The Sun,” a film and screenplay that required a lot from the actors’ performances without a lot of writing, “Half Term” is a breath of fresh air. This style requires a certain nuanced performance from the actors. We as an audience need to be able to understand what the actor is going through without dialogue. Each actor in this short film (which could easily be stretched into a feature) knows both the material and characters well enough to take them to the next level outside of the page. Once having Mike Leigh as a teacher (as Hagger told me) also was probably a big help.

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