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Not Cricket (2007)

First Light Movies

Main image of Not Cricket (2007)
Video, colour, 10 mins
DirectorReuben Abraham
Production CompanyIntrinsic Lines of Inquiry in association with First Light
 ARC Theatre Ensemble

A father teaches his boy the subtle art of cricket, and learns something in return.

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Funded by First Light and conceived and produced by young people, Not Cricket is a gentle short film centred around the relationship between a young boy and his father and their mutual love of cricket.

The film tells the story of Aamir, a talented cricketer, who is thrown by the arrival of a new player to his local cricket game - a girl, whose batting threatens to derail his winning bowling streak. But if Aamir's struggle to overcome this immediate challenge provides Not Cricket with its narrative drive, the film is most interested in exploring Aamir's father, Dawood's sense of failure and frustration and his worries for his son's future.

As narrator, Aamir's father draws lessons from various aspects of the sport, telling his son that "it's in defeat in cricket that you truly learn who you are". And it is clear that the game holds a powerful meaning in his own life - "I guess we're all waiting for that magic ball, for that one break to change our lives". It is, however, ultimately Aamir who teaches his father a lesson in the dangers of waiting indefinitely for that "perfect bowl".

Not Cricket also quietly touches on the issues of history and identity; cricket is, for Dawood, a vital link between his past and Aamir's future. As he show's his son pictures of his great-grandfather and reveals his talisman - a 'magic' bowling ball - it is clear that Dawood believes his son is continuing a proud family tradition in excelling in the "most noble of games".

Confidently shot in an impressionistic style, Not Cricket is perhaps most notable for its script, which was based on an idea by two of the young actors in the film. Developed in collaboration with a scriptwriter, the dialogue and narration is impressively assured and the film builds naturally towards its final scene.

Not Cricket was awarded Activison First Light Award for Best Screenplay in 2009.

Poppy Simpson

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