Gritty drama has been the backbone of British cinema. From Bob Hoskins in The Long Good Friday to the Guy Ritchie back catalogue, taking the camera to the seedy underbelly of the UK, specifically London, has always been a highlight of our nation. To perfect a good drama in this way, you must present a right tone, great cinematography and a story as assured as the talent behind it. Within merely three minutes, new director Fay Tsorapa has given us a short film with all the meat and weight as the greats before it.
The story follows malicious and mean boxer Freddie as he warms up for a fight. He narrates his life. How he was born unwanted and how people told him that he was already damaged. In a self serving prophecy, Freddie becomes the monster people have always said that he will be. Become his destiny, he boxes to the death, in bloody and unsettling matches to a jeering crowd.
There is some earnest beauty in this work. Tsorapa has devilishly saturated her piece in some resolute and unnerving realism. With a colour scheme that matches dramas beforehand, it is drenched with this heavily placed blood and sweat. Add a strong performance from lead Andrew Smith, Tsorapa gives us an insight to her soon to be prolific career by slicing the grit with some character background that is discomforting. Giving us harsh imagery and changing the narrative eye to snippets of the past, What I Am is full of powerful moments that pack a punch. It is a confident piece that paves the way for Tsorapa to seize her stance and industry. And let’s just say it, this is a first year piece of work for University, I, for one, cannot wait to see how she progresses.