Student Critics' Reviews: Life May Be

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This year, the Student Critics Jury at Edinburgh International Film Festival made their picks of the Fest. Today our coverage continues with Liam Bartie's review of Life May Be.

Bare, bold and brave, Life May Be is an excitingly honest piece of filmmaking. Co-directed by Mark Cousins and Mania Akbari, the film takes the shape of five filmed letters in which Cousins and Akbari poetically discuss and depict themes such as art, nudity and Iran.

Nominated for the Award for Best Documentary Feature Film, Cousins is in familiar territory. What distinguishes this work from his other documentaries is the presence of the inspirational Mania Akbari: this is not a narration but a shared, intimate conversation.

The lack of any human voice in the final scene captures what this film is truly about. No matter how hard the film tries to immerse us in the closing moments, with its sensational shots of waterfalls and its dramatic score, the words on the screen in place of Cousins’ thick Irish accent leave us with a strong sense of absence.

Great art can capture something of the essential nature of the everyday, and this film certainly does, but ultimately, like the “Scottish heather on your bare feet” or “the wind on your thighs”, it is physical connection that humans crave above all else.

Go experience this film for yourself – go naked. Not literally of course, you’ll end up incarcerated with the “Naked Rambler” Stephen Gough. Strip yourself of any preconceptions you have about what a film should be or what a documentary should do. Enter the cinema with the same open vulnerability laid bare on screen by both these artists and you are sure to be deeply moved.

– Liam Bartie

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The Student Critics Jury is a group of bright young student film critics mentored at Edinburgh International Film Festival.

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