Teenage Aaron struggles to accept his mother’s decision to let herself die. The family, it seems, supports her decision but Aaron can’t let her go that easily. In this NFTS short written/directed by Phil Sheerin the drama unfolds within the familial intimacy of home, an isolated farm in Ireland. North won the Best UK Short at the Raindance Film Festival and was nominated for the 2014 Student Academy Awards.
Aaron looks like a teenage boy who had to grow up fast; his angst and audacity is well depicted on the face of young Barry Keoghan – which you might have noticed starring in the recent Norfolk. The mother, played by Kate Lock, exudes both strength of will (for her choice not to suffer anymore) and frailty (when given the means to achieve her wish she stills needs Aaron to give her courage).
North is a well-acted, moving short which perhaps plays too much by the rules as there is hardly anything you wouldn’t expect or that you have not seen before. Nonetheless, it’s the family dynamics that offer the most interesting intimate portrait of a young man who fights to be heard and taken seriously when the ‘grown-ups’ (the cast also features the brilliant Emer McCourt and Des McAleer) have already taken a decision.
Shot on 16mm, North uses desaturated, grey-green-ish colours to evoke the sense of loneliness and despair. The rawness of the images entirely befits the film thematics and setting. If, perhaps not the most remarkable film we have seen, North is certainly promising of a bright career for writer/director Phil Sheerin.