Essays · Movies

A Dominating Short Film Explores Masculinity and The Loss of Dominion

By  · Published on September 9th, 2014

The Woolshed Company

Why Watch? This short film from Richard Hughes is sweat and gristle. It’s the cinematic equivalent of a fist. Yet like most outstanding explorations of manhood, Man proves the power and pure muscle are not enough to make you whole.

It focuses on a middle-aged sheep shearer who’s one bad afternoon away from being sent to pasture. He takes a young kid under his wing, trying to teach him to stay on the right path, but the young troublemaker has the unfortunate solution to the old man’s problem in a tiny plastic bag.

Man is aggressive and unrelenting – with evocative shots that place us firmly in the dirt and heat of the barn to a storming performance from a feral Shane Connor as the old man. He growls his way through a forced paternal role, anchored by strident frustration and a too big piece of himself that wants to do the right thing.

There’s a strong parallel here to the Oscar nominated Bullhead, both for its subject matter, its tragic sense of fading dominion and its exhausting intensity. This is one hell of a fantastic short film.

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