Paul has an attitude. He’s the kid you cross the road to avoid. The no-hoper you pray your children never become. But there’s more to Paul than meets the eye or the ear. A side that he only finds when he’s truly lost.
Perhaps not the type of picture we’d be expecting from PostPanic, the highly conceptual and visual effects specialized studio which has brought us some of our favourite shorts like Sundays and Lost Boy. But ‘Little Shit’ certainly carries all its production values onto a different kind of genre. The black and white film directed by Richard Gorodecky follows a rebellious young kid with attitude as he roams the London streets seeking and running away from trouble. But there’s much more than meets the eye with this kid, as we tenderly start liking the little shit. We connected with Richard to ask him a few questions about the film:
Little Shit is a child’s journey to discover his and London’s hidden nature.
Tell us a bit about yourself, what’s your background and what brings you to be making short films?
That’s such a big question. I could give a big answer. But no one will read it, so I’ll take a chance with a medium-sized answer. My creative background is pretty broad. I messed around with so many formats and, like many creative people unwilling or unable to choose a single output, found in job advertising, where to be multi-disciplined is an asset. That’s where I learnt storytelling and film craft. Ten years ago, I got really excited about the potential of branded content (or whatever we’re supposed to be calling it now). That blurry line between advertising and entertainment. I started making short films for the likes of Intel and Pernod Ricard. Work that I believed was of genuine value to the viewer rather than simply an entertaining interruption. I found myself in a place much closer to film than advertising and it felt good. Quite simply, I wanted more. More than commercial work alone could or probably should give. So, I started making short films and it felt like I’d finally worked out ‘what I want to do when I grow up’.
What was the inspiration for the film?
I grew up poor in a rough-ish part of London. I was a little shit and my friends were little shits. No-hopers basically, or so we were made to feel. It was almost impossible to imagine anything particularly good coming out of life. ‘Getting by’ would probably be the height of ambition. It was hard to find positive role models, and it was all too easy – in fact almost inevitable – to walk down the wrong path.
Luckily, I discovered the Grand Union Canal when I was little. This place, this ‘natural’ world provided an alternative reality. Dragonflies as big as your hand, sparrow hawks, and carp swimming in the murky depths. It gave wonder to a fairly cynical childhood. It felt like a safe place to be a kid. So Little Shit is a fictional amplification of some of those experiences.
Anticipation is key in your film, where the build-up lets us hate the little shit early, but also feel compassion for him as the story progresses. What would you like the audience to take away from his double-sided persona?
I show Paul as you would see him. As you would dismiss him. I want the viewer to jump to conclusions. As the story progresses and we see beyond the immediately visible, I reveal more sides to Paul and challenge your opinion of him. The child behind the little shit. I don’t want to give too much away, but he attempts something terrible. I’m not saying bad kid is actually good kid. That’s too simplistic. He’s complicated. His life is complicated. When you don’t have role-models, morality can take on some very strange shapes. So yes, I play with the audience’s preconceptions and then peel away. It’s a set-up from the start with a title like Little Shit.
That fox scene was pretty trippy. How did that idea come about and what does it enforce exactly?
Fear dominates Paul’s life. Even sleep offers no escape. The fox is simply a manifestation of fear. In children’s stories, the fox and the rabbit are often classic portrayals of hunter and prey. Both are present in the film. I liked this childish simplification in a story about a child who seems to be almost completely lacking a childhood.