Director: Charlotte Wells
Screenwriter: Charlotte Wells
Starring: Megan McGill, Anita Vettesse, David Leith, Kirstie Steele
Revisiting the debut short film of Scottish screenwriter-director Charlotte Wells in the midst of the exploding popularity of her critically acclaimed and record-breaking debut feature Aftersun feels like a small peak through the looking glass, the now prominent and much-celebrated filmmaker’s stylistic traits standing out amidst tighter requirements and less funding.
In Tuesday, the same deeply intimate characterisations are as evident as they are in Aftersun, the narrative of the short film taking on the same quality of meaning something different upon a rewatch than it might have done the first time around.
Tuesday is about a day-in-the-life of a Scottish schoolgirl. Played with a strong introverted, troubled but relatable physicality by the tremendously photographable Megan McGill, central character Allie seems at a distance from her mother, has forgotten her homework, her teacher suspects she has been out drinking, and she’s to stay at her father’s that night. It’s an average day in the life of a quiet kid at school, only that’s not the exact truth; the exact truth is somewhat more precious, more in Wells’ now famous wheelhouse.
It’s a short told with the same empathetic lens as in Aftersun, the camera offering us a perspective that the characters within the piece aren’t necessarily privy to, our experience guided directly by Wells through big revelations that play with the same lack of glorification, the same intimacy and empathy, the same understated qualities, as those that occur in the director’s first feature film. The camera is off the hook so-to-speak, held freehand, but steady, complimented by a patient edit. There’s even an ethereal quality to this work, one that Wells would of course apply in her first feature film.
To see Tuesday as it is, a short film debut from one of the United Kingdom’s most talented new feature filmmakers, offers a lot of opportunity for deeper appreciation of this filmmaker’s work. Despite her lack of experience, and the film’s lack of budget and runtime, there is something powerful and meaningful beneath the softness of the presentation and the seemingly ordinariness of the piece. Tuesday serves a strong lesson in regards to what any viewer of Aftersun or Charlotte Wells’ filmography should expect, and as a standalone is as well-produced, meaningful and full of potential as any British short film you’re likely to see.
Technically superb and clearly inspired, Tuesday is no doubt in part unmissable due to its association with Aftersun, an 11-minute preview of the filmmaking traits and talents of its writer-director-producer Charlotte Wells.