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On The Edge (1997)

Main image of On The Edge (1997)
35mm, black and white, 27 mins
DirectorNewton Aduaka
Production CompanyGranite FilmWorks
ProducerMaria Elena L'Abbate
ScreenplayNewton Aduaka
PhotographyStuart Gosling
MusicDeborah Mollison

Cast: Maynard Ezieshi, Susan Warren, Susan Aderin, Chaney Chan, Ryan Froyze

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Court's girlfriend Lorna is addicted to drugs. He is desperate to get her off them, but a secret from his past threatens to drive them both over the edge.

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The multi-award winning short On The Edge (d. Newton Aduaka, 1997) is a harrowing portrait of the effects of drugs which avoids the moralising of government health warnings. The director elicits an astonishing performance from actress Susan Warren as Lorna, who goes through a range of emotions as she copes with her drug withdrawal and self-hatred. Maynard Eziashi, is also very good as her boyfriend, Court, the still, reflective heart at the centre of the film.

The film is shot in black and white, with colour sequences depicting Court's childhood memories - an interesting reversal of expectation. The characters are trapped in their pain just as they are literally trapped in the flat when Court, in desperation, throws the keys out of the window. And the long night in which they fight through the argument is as gripping and intimate as theatre. We cannot leave until it becomes light. However when dawn arrives it is only a small respite in the storm.

Aduaka's debut feature film Rage (1999) an uncompromising story about the three teenage boys locked in a spiral of poverty and violence, also collected several awards. The director is clearly a talent to watch.

Ann Ogidi

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Aduaka, Newton (1966-)