February 3, 2011
It’s mere myth that there is such a thing as an “average” or “normal” family. The dynamics that exist between family members – heteronormative nuclear ones or otherwise – are distinct to each family as they are relational in the first instance. As such, it might just be the case that writer/director Andrew C. Morgan’s recently finished short film The Skellys (2011) is not at all what it might at first appear.
The tag line elusively reads: “A suburban fantasy inside a remote reality.” On first viewing it might occur to the viewer that here is a presentation of a strange, dysfunctional and, for wont of a better word, “bogan” family. Of course, they would be the reactions of a presumably middle class viewer who considers him/herself to be “well-adjusted” and “well-bred”. Reactionary responses aside, The Skellys is in fact a view of a family from their own perspectives and, instead of being a condemnation of their interaction, the film is actually pushing for the “suburban fantasy” and its “remote reality” as a sacred psychogeographical space; access to which is exclusive, closed to outsiders.
The Skellys is a short rendered as if it were a “home video”, complete with tracking issues and a lack of smooth transition between sequences. Whilst their home is semi-dilapidated and their activities “strange” – to a stranger -their dynamics are shown as “honest”. It is always inferred that behind the camera is a family member. Furthermore, although the film is set up as the young girl’s “video for class”, it is suggested that the actions and interactions of her family as shown are neither censored nor edited. Affection, anger, fantasy, fear, destruction and togetherness are all shown in equal and adequate measure.
Subtly bringing the viewer and his/her assumptions and accusations against Others into question, The Skellys is far more thoughtful than it might at first appear.
Written by Tara Judah for Liminal Vision.