Mark Bowsher’s Only One Person Will Like This Film tells the simple story of a young director who comes up with a cunning plan to get revenge on the festival critic who has been rejecting her incomprehensible stop-motion films for the past four years. Anyone who has gone through the graceless process of making a short film and has submitted it to festivals, keeping her fingers crossed that it will get the recognition it deserves, has a pretty good chance of identifying with the protagonist. But don’t worry: other people can like this short as well.
Mark Bowsher writes and directs with minimalistic style, making the brave decision to tell his story without the helping hand of dialogue and letting his images speak for themselves. Two basic shots (a medium shot of the young director waiting patiently in her house for a positive reply and a medium shot of the festival critic who watches the film submissions in his office) proved sufficient for the purposes of the story. Praise should also be given to the two actors who played their roles with a silent-era sensibility and managed to express their unspoken feelings without making their characters appear overly cartoonish.
Truth be told, the film has not much to show on the cinematography and production design departments but that doesn’t really matter here. The focus is placed on the two characters and as directors like Woody Allen have taught us, visual simplicity in comedy can work wonders. However, I think I would prefer less music and a more meticulously worked sound design. This kind of mellow piano music has become a bit of a cliché for short films and I would expect something more subversive from this project. Bowsher could also use his sound design in a more formalistic way in order to express the young director’s nervousness and also add some extra comedic value.
The theme of rejection is obviously heavy throughout the film but the real theme lies in the title. Who do filmmakers really make films for? Are the filmmakers the only persons who can like and understand their films? Should an artist be concerned with what the audience wants or should she make anything that pleases herself even if no one else is interested? Deep stuff indeed, but humour helps in addressing them in a light-hearted, non-pretentious way. Bowsher’s film overstays its welcome a little bit and its finale is slightly confusing as to what he wants to say, but thanks to its wit and honesty it wins you over. I, for one, liked it so that’s two persons already!