In this mystery romance, rights of passage drama Ade is a 23 year-old Londoner who after breaking up with his girlfriend, finds himself heart-broken and alone in his apartment. Rushing through rainy, twilight streets, he accidentally bumps into an other worldly young woman who seems shocked to meet him. Captivated by her beauty he asks her name, she responds “Phyllis” and hurries away.
After hearing from his best friend that Phyllis is probably a nurse that works in the local hospice, Ade plucks up courage and ventures into the hospice to see her, but when they meet again Ade discovers Phyllis isn’t who he thought. Ade is however unable to control his feelings and is soon drawn by Phyllis on a strange journey where death and love collide.
A Secret Heart
Movie • 16 min 30 sec
Film Noir, Drama, Romance, Thriller, Science Fiction, Fantasy, War, Mystery, Adventure.
NICHE: Women, Black, Youth
As a writer director the films I have made so far are very much about loss and longing, possibly emptiness but there is always hope. They reflect a fractured emotional landscape perhaps drawn from ideas of immigration and cultural dislocation and a deep sense of emotional longing. They are also about people separated for a while or forwever, relationship breakups and longing for re-connection. Perhaps cultural dislocation and relationship separation are somehow conjoined in my mind.
I like to explore the spaces between people, sometimes small and sometimes gigantic, but always there is the opportunity to bridge these spaces – this for me in this enigmatic world of ‘what if’ is where drama is possible and where questions and dilemmas are more important than decisions.
The films I have made aren’t stories based on dialogue, they are stories told through pictures, sound and action and perhaps just glances between two people.
A Secret Heart is a story very close to me and was inspired by visits to my favourite Aunt Phyliss who was slowly dying in a hospice. We shared a few precious moments of nostalgia, reconciliation, hope and re-adjustment to the idea that none of us live forever. Life is finite and short, even a comparatively long life like my Aunt had from her girlhood before World War Two in London to an old lady alone in an end of life hospital. I guess the eventual loss of my Aunt touched me and made me reflect on my own life between loves and how lucky I would be to meet someone who I would love for a lifetime like my aunt and her husband and my parents had. I think this hope laced with sadness and loss carries into the emotions of A Secret Heart.
The film is deliberately ‘old fashioned’ in style. For its story telling and pace I was partly inspired by one of my favourite films Powell and Pressburger’s British classic ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ with all its World War Two and life and death spectacle, echoed in a small way in this tiny short film.
Finally the film is set in East London where I live – a giant cultural melting point and arrival zone of immigration for hundreds of years. This isn’t the London of the British period drama glamour. No chisel cheeked, rich, white people walk these streets, or would ever comer here. It has instead been the flourishing refuge of escaping French Huguenots, Jews from all over mainland Europe and more recently many South Asians and Africans of many cultures and faiths. There is a common sense of kinship here in this region of the culturally dislocated. This London is the unspoken character of A Secret Heart.