Filming location for spaghetti westerns in Almería, Spain

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© 1987-2016
Scott Larson

Building façade in Cannes, France

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The redhead sits quietly in an office and listens to a slide presentation. She does not speak, but something seems to be, shall we say, simmering beneath the surface. There is something unusual about Mrs. Cole—or should it be spelled Mrs. Coal?

The fiery redhead is Audrey Noone and her searing performance is the centerpiece of A Warming Trend, a new short film she wrote and directed. At a scant three minutes and forty-two seconds, it is essentially a one-joke comedy, but it is a very good joke. A humorous and fanciful take on what might delicately be called the change of life, Noone’s short packs in a seemingly endless series of heat references and sight gags. Technically, the film is very well made, making clever use of mixing color and black-and-white elements simultaneously and and incorporating various special effects quite seamlessly. It’s the kind of brief entertainment that should bring a smile of recognition to any woman who has gone through that passage of life or, for that matter, anyone who has lived with one.

Based in Massachusetts, Noone has been acting and writing and directing for a while now, and her work has a nicely wry—and sometimes sardonic—tone in its humor. Usually when a filmmaker acts in her or his own films, you get a sense of which job—directing or acting—is their primary one, but Noone seems equally comfortable behind and in front of the camera. As a performer, she has a nice vibe reminiscent of Patricia Clarkson.

Some of Noone’s movies have drawn on the fact that she is a qualified speech pathologist. In fact, a couple of years ago she made a film called Amy Kidd, Zombie Speech Pathologist. That flick pondered how a speech pathologist might adjust her practice after the advent of the zombie apocalypse. The natural answer was to take on zombies as patients. After all, we know well from numerous movies and TV shows that the walking dead are pretty challenged verbally. In another film she penned (and which was directed by Yvonne LaBarge) called The Look, she plays the speech pathologist mother of a teen son. When she establishes a facial cue to help the lad remember his therapy techniques in social situations, the meaningful looks she gives are comically misinterpreted by his pal, who turns out to be much more adventurous than he looks.

Some of her scenarios take on sexual awkwardness quite directly. In Zone 3 (directed by Felipe Jorge) a couple in bed have an in-depth chat about the man’s somewhat overenthuasiastic attempts to keep things interesting. In No Headache Tonight a straight man gives a lift to a gay man as a favor and then proceeds to pester him with increasingly intrusive, and sometimes downright odd, questions about what turns him on.

In The Race Card a dinner party turns increasingly uncomfortable when the host begins peppering his guests with clueless questions derived from their various ethnicities. Is he ignorant or bigoted or is there something else up his sleeve?

Taken as a whole, Noone’s films display a distinct and droll and often imaginative view of the world. Clearly, she is a keen observer of her own life and of those around her. It would be interesting to see her take on a feature-length project, say a sophisticated romcom, or maybe even a television or web series—assuming she could take the time away from her speech pathologist gig.

If you want more info on Audrey Noone and her films, you can check out her Facebook page.

-S.L., 22 August 2015

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