The Beautiful Minimal still

The Beautiful Minimal (with music from Be Good) @ The Ultimate Picture Palace, Oxford, 09/09/14

The Beautiful Minimal is the first film from Jordan O’Shea, who has previously shown an energy for creativity through his own music and by heading up the Bear On A Bicycle record label and art collective. At tonight’s first screening of the film, to a bustling Ultimate Picture Palace, it’s impressive and pleasing to see that the effort required to auteur even a short film from conception to completion has now been made real.

Before the film, a short set from Be Good creates a mood of warmth and relaxed style. They make sleepy, enveloping songs that hint at doo-wop and the lighter aspects of Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks score in equal measures. A wonderfully close-sounding fuzztone guitar provides a soft mattress of sound onto which simple, charming lyrics and melodies lay.

The Beautiful Minimal is short – perhaps not more than ten minutes in length – but tells a small story in a stylish fashion. Centred around a slightly alienated young girl who finds escape in the thoughts triggered by a series of objects and scenarios, it sets up and plays well with a small cast of characters, and while it’s at times ever so slightly let down by reverberant sound recording, it’s a pretty and captivating set of moments. Filmed on both video and film, there’s a clear Wes Anderson influence – overlaid words/titles on scenes; seven inch singles with large centre holes being placed into suitcases, etc – but it’s an impressive debut. It suggests a clarity of thought (backed up by the aforementioned energy for creativity) that no doubt will manifest itself in longer form in the future.

At a brief Q&A session after the film, O’Shea mentions that the film won’t be available to share through YouTube, Vimeo and suchlike, and may next be seen at festivals or a yet-to-be-arranged series of tour dates. This is good to hear: along with the admirable feat of actually doing something like making a film, placing it in a real world context rather than the frenzied mess of the internet may set it apart and be in its favour. It will, at least, make this first screening seem as special and valuable as it should.