THE AFFLICTION TABLE *** UK 2018 Dir: M W Daniels. 15 mins
Here’s a strikingly visualised mood piece from the rising, London-based writer-director-composer of BEING WITHOUT, HOUSE OF LEXI and EMILY’S HANDS. Daniels’ oppressively ominous score forms a major part of this oblique short’s overall effectiveness – as does the sound design in general, compensating for the absence of dialogue with a hypnotic soundscape to match the abstract visuals.
Daniels himself portrays William Hayden, an occult artist and S & M fantasist who summons a flesh-and-blood vision of his ideal woman into his room. This lady, named Holly Low (Kimberley Thornhill) participates with him in fetishistic rituals fulfilling his deepest desires and needs, but she starts resisting his sexual authority. For a three-hander with no dialogue based entirely around a table in a single room, this is a compelling piece of work – a story of female and male subjugation with a startling punchline and the overriding sense of a growing filmmaking talent.
Review by Steven West