Surreal, intriguing, emotionally powerful. His Hands is all of it at once. The silent short film, created by actor Arron Blake and cinematographer Darius Shu, is a masterpiece built on suspense and appealing imagery. I remember watching the trailer for the first time and wonder about what I had just seen, not really knowing what to feel. And so I watched it for the second time, and then the third, until I realised this film is a must see: not for the story, and neither for the way it looks. But for its aftertaste.
Planned over a coffee at the BFI, “Darius and I said ‘Let’s do our own film together!’ There and then Darius pulled his laptop out of his bag and said ‘What shall we call it?’ I always like to have a title first,’ he said. As it is a silent short and we [had] the same vision, the script was complete within 2 hours,” remembers Arron when asked about the brainstorming process.
Featuring actors Philip Brisebois and Arron Blake himself, the film’s narrative plays around a series of peculiar events as soon as the two characters meet under the same roof. A metaphor between young and old, powerful and weak, inexperienced and wise, acceptance and fear of the unknown, His Hands touches themes such as identity, absence and loneliness. “We do not specifically identify the two’s relationship: they could be family - a father and his son, or [Arron] could be a caretaker, or even a murderer. We leave it to your own interpretation and imagination,” says Darius Shu talking about the various subjects the film includes. “Older people don’t usually get physically touched as they grow older, [maybe] because their spouse died, or they just spend their days in loneliness, so I think it is also important to physically touch them and let them feel that physical connection”.
“A film to make you understand something and then un-understand it, only to understand it again, hopefully,” is how Arron described His Hands in his own words. Confused? That’s it, read that line again. It will make sense if you do. Everything about these guys’ work is about a constant repetition, which forces people to just think, enlightening minds, opening new horizons. “I love stories that are odd and strange, “things that make you think” subjects and situations that keep you thinking long after you see them. Things aren’t always what they seem,” says Arron.
Furthermore, when thinking about the importance of making this type of movie in this period of time, Arron explains, from his own experiences, that “there is currently a rise in hate crime due to our present situation in and around the world. Being accepted in the world today is huge [probably] more so than it was 10 years ago. This is mainly due to the huge pressures of social media: whether coming out as gay or “different” there is always that worry of not being accepted. We like to think and hope we will be. I always had a fear that when my family knew I was gay they were only pretending to be “fine” with it, but deep down they were thinking different”.
Still in post production, His Hands will be coming out soon. You can follow all the updates here and watch the trailer here.