by George M. Groutas
This past weekend, at the recommendation of a friend and colleague, I treated myself to a wonderful comedy/drama short about people and relationships, titled Socks and Cakes, a Woody Allen inspired short from writer / director Antonio Padovan.
Shot in New York City’s Greenwich Village, the fifteen minute film takes a comic and dramatic look at the jealousies and frustrations that arise between five friends who have gathered together for a dinner party. They flirt. They drink. They argue. They talk about love, sex and life. They come for a lamb dinner and red wine, but some of the characters end up walking away with so much more.
I have to tell you that even for a fifteen minute short film, I saw a beginning, a middle and an end…and found it all utterly charming and even a little moving. I’ll take a film like this over 3-D any day of the week.
Writer / director Padovan’s film stars an immensely talented actor named Timothy J. Cox (his delivery and demeanor reminiscent of a young Richard Dreyfuss) as Harry, a downtrodden literature professor who still has very strong feelings for his ex-wife Amanda, played by the luminous Kirsty Meares.
Meares’ Amanda is now married to Harry’s best friend Richard (Jeff Moffitt), but there’s trouble in Richard and Amanda’s marriage, although Amanda tries to put on a brave face as the party she and Richard are planning is about to start. Aside from Harry, the other guests expected to attend are cocky real estate giant David (Ben Prayz) and his young girlfriend, the seductive Sophie (Alex Vincent). Upon meeting Sophie, Richard is quite taken with her and his nowhere near subtle flirtations with her begin. Harry is also fascinated by Sophie, but more for the fact that she’s with an idiot like David (his words). Harry’s dislike of David stems, I imagine, from his suspicions that David and Amanda were intimate in the past; a fact Amanda confirms in the films’ final and best scene. In it, Amanda, in a wine fueled rage, admits to Harry that her marriage to Richard is ending and that her future is uncertain.
Socks and Cakes is not a film about solving life’s problems; it’s a film about simply addressing those life problems, which people commonly don’t like to do. The problems that these characters face in the film, issues with commitment, insecurity and trust, don’t get solved quickly, certainly not in fifteen minutes, but in Padovan’s film, we see a glimpse…a sign, a hope that people like Harry and Amanda are going to take the steps to make it better.
Padovan’s script weaves between sharp and funny word play, especially when all five characters sit for dinner and muse on various topics, to some very moving and dramatic revelations about the insecurities that we all feel about where our lives have gone and where they have not. At fifteen minutes, Padovan shows us some very interesting characters.
Shot in continuous takes, the film moves at a crisp pace, with scenes flowing nicely from one to the next. Credit for the stellar camera work goes to director of photography Alessandro Penazzi, whose work impresses here.
All of the performances are spot on. This is a true ensemble piece, although Cox and Meares are exceptional…especially Cox, who manages to bring considerable warmth and charm to the role of the hapless schnook Harry.
Socks and Cakes is not a film that you’re likely going to see at a movie theatre near you, although I hope that big things happen for the film in the future.
According to IMDB.com, the film has received great reviews across the board from numerous sites on the internet.
If you wish to view the film yourself, visit the films’ official website at http://www.socksandcakes.com/Socks_&_Cakes/Home.html