On Saturday October 19, Michele Aboud’s film, A Close Shave, will screen at the Byron Bay International Film Festival. It will the film’s 6th international film festival screening. It has, or will be seen, also at Woodstock Film Festival, Berlin Short Film Festival, Dumbo (Brooklyn) Film Festival, Around International Film Festival Berlin and ARFF Amsterdam – so far.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled,” Aboud stated. “I wasn’t able to go to Woodstock but I was sent the most wonderful personal email from the organisers, telling me how much everyone loved the film.”
The film is important. Aboud has got men to talk about their feelings and how they have dealt with traumatic personal events. She has got men to talk about being vulnerable, something men need to know that it’s OK to be. That’s not the only reason why A Close Shave is so watchable:
The idea for the film came from an everyday thought while crossing the road in Sydney’s CBD, “Have you had a close shave in life?” She uses a neighbourhood barbershop as a safe space two bring three local men together to discuss their toughest challenges in life in a particularly intimate and raw form.
Aboud told The Stable the story of how the film came together:
Where do I shoot this?
“I’d been eying off a barbershop in Arncliffe for years, knowing the clientele would reveal a wealth of stories and experiences. The shop itself was far too modern to act as a backdrop, so the search for an authentic environment was on. Within a short time (I mean very short) I came across the perfect shop in the inner west of Sydney.
I met with the owner in a Surry Hills café. He spent a lot of time just listening to me explain my idea, then simply answered, ‘Yeah, we can do this.”
Not only would we shoot in the shop but a few of his clientele would be willing to participate. I met numerous guys who were willing to be part of the project one night and found my three. It was on.”
How do we film it?
“I did not want to create breaks in filming or demand a camera performance with repeated takes, so I decided to shoot in one take with three cameras.
The usual wide, intermediate and close up framing was replaced with varying degrees of tight, revealing crops. Very intimate. I also mostly used available light, with a little added fill, always to be graded in black and white. DOP, Anton Perry, did a really beautiful job.
There were moments of spontaneous silence after a reveal was palpable. They were 100% natural, giving complete respect to what was just shared.
Oh joy, look at all the footage
Christopher Baron at The Hive embraced my dedication to the close-up technique, to not needing to follow the conventional edit of cutting wide to tight etc. This approach allowed the film’s viewers to fully experience both the dialogue and any feelings surfacing from our protagonists. You’re not ever let off the hook as you watch the film. You’re held in it. There is a moment towards the end of Josh’s dialogue where the reflection of his experience is fully realised in his eyes. This is real.”
To tell a story is an honour. The thrill never wanes.
“Making short documentaries has become a way of engaging with the fragility of life, a way to listen and learn, a way to grow from sharing with others. I have an intuitive sense of the impact of emotion. The concept and idea have always come first for me in my filmmaking. I weave my stories onto these, and what matters most to me is to retain the integrity of both.