The Maestro, a short film by director Adam Anthony, details the journey of a derelict as he wanders amidst the darkness of a Sydney very much encased in ugly, mechanical sound. Aimlessly walking in a direction of non-importance, he hears the sound of a squeegee. His transformation is thus at it’s beginnings, as our derelict becomes our maestro, someone with the power to create a symphony of sound and light. Later, being stripped of his conductor’s tool, we are exposed to the real, underlying question; does this man’s talent rely solely on an external object or is it his innate ability to perform as such? As he slowly walks away from Sydney and approaches the sea, waves crashing hard and fast, we are given the answer in a stunning and poignant ending.
Short films are often subjected to more questions than full length features, because they have to get their message across in far less time. The beauty about The Maestro is that it manages to convey a thematic element whilst using adventurous natural light shots to further express the idea that the maestro will always find his artistic flair. The film is both intricate and mesmeric, something that Adam Anthony and his team deserves full credit for; their cinematic prowess demonstrating that a combination of real time and timelapse filming techniques can produce some sublime shots of an already attractive city.
However, for all it’s brilliance in lighting and camera-work, there is room for improvement through elements of the sound. I was never quite convinced by our central character when he was composing his piece of the city. The swishes and swooshes of his make-shift baton are never readily believable, looking both forced and dissimilar from the beat of the sound that emits. The actual sound used for the maestro’s big symphonic moment is interesting. It is certainly not cliche, but there is something lacklustre about it. Perhaps this is a personal interpretation, but the sound felt underwhelming considering the purpose to create a harmony of different sounds, that represent the personal emotions of our derelict turned conductor. Nevertheless, it doesn’t necessarily deduct much from the film as a whole, because there is enough diversity in the tone of the music to grab us and plunge us into this surreal moment.
Without stating the obvious, this is a particularly accomplished short film, which deserves applause for it’s brave insight into the power of the individual’s imagination and creativity. The central performance from Gyton Grantley gives off both a sadness and isolation that we can all appreciate, and the general cinematography by Tony Gardiner is exceptional. Through The Maestro we are allowed five minutes in which to experience various emotions; disappointment, loneliness, amazement and hope. They help the film culminate in a climax that demonstrates that we can all amass to something, if we can just try and believe in our own talents.