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People Show 138: Last Day | Review

People Show 138: Last DayLast Day is one person’s experience of what it is to be the human resources manager at a sock factory that has decided to call it a day. Perhaps there are socks made more cheaply in other parts of the world whose products are imported. The film doesn’t really explore that aspect of the story, focusing instead on the impact of the decision already made. Sidney Williams (Tyrone Higgins) himself worked his way “from the floor to the office”, but his role as middleman between the boardroom and the staff meant he was more attached to the workforce than anyone he worked with directly.

There is, therefore, the psychological impact that his final project for the company involves – having to tell people they no longer have jobs. There are, quite understandably, a wide range of thoughts swirling in Sidney’s head: these are people he will have interviewed, and offered jobs to, and no doubt his skills of tact and diplomacy will have made him an approachable figure.

In just fifteen minutes, the film manages to tell a comprehensive tale. There are, frankly, worse places to have worked than this one: Sidney has remained with the company for thirty years, so there must have been something about the place that made him want to stay for so long, and his redundancy package was (I thought) more than reasonable. Some portrayals of the impact of the company’s closure are subtler than others – let’s just say that if you avoid programmes like Holby City because of the sheer amount of (fake) blood, you might want to be prepared to avert your gaze at a certain moment in this film.

From a cinematographic point of view, it’s all shot very well, and it doesn’t, thankfully, overdo it in terms of sound effects and music. Whilst Sidney has retirement to look forward to, the circumstances in which it has arisen are evidently regrettable, which overall makes for an absorbing watch. Sidney seems to be that rarest of office creatures, a manager who genuinely cares for the workforce, and with situations like his being replicated all over the world, Last Day will resonate with many of those directly or indirectly affected by business closures.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

People Show 138: Last Day, follows HR manager Sidney, who after thirty years of working at an industrial sock factory faces a challenging dilemma that could affect the livelihood of his employees. We find him wandering around the now empty workplace haunted by the memories of his past colleagues, friends, and bosses. Throughout his journey he is confronted head-on by the horrific consequences of his actions. Will he make the right choice at the end of his last day?

Starring Tyrone Huggins, George Khan and thirty young performers from the University of Roehampton’s Drama, Theatre and Performance department People Show 138: Last Day is a short dreamlike drama about power, loss, loyalty and the huge weight of responsibility experienced when an employer is forced to make decisions that impact on others’ futures.

The film is written by Gareth Brierley and Fiona Creese and directed by Gareth Brierley. Sound Design and Editing are by Rob Kennedy, the Art Director is Jessica Worrall and Jonathan Bloom is the Director of Photography.

People Show 138: Last Day won Best Actor (Tyrone Huggins) and Best Director (Gareth Brierley) at Independent Shorts Film Festival LA and Best Short Film and Best Direction at Best Shorts Festival La Jolla, CA it was also selected for LA Lift Off Festival.

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