The Recordist

We feature a selection of four short films from South Australia — Aquaphobe, The Recordist, System Error and A Very Lockdown Birthday — part of the ‘Made in SA’ program from this 2020’s Adelaide Film Festival – by Vanessa Abbott

The Recordist | Cinematography by Sam Twidale

Andrew (Brendan Rock) and Amy (Jordan Cowan) in ‘The Recordist’ – DOP Sam Twidale

Sound recordist Andrew (Brendan Rock) operates from the fringes of film sets, unseen and often forgotten. Using his sound equipment, he regularly listens to and records private conversations between crew and cast members. When Andrew tunes into a young actress (Jordan Cowan) having an affair with a film director (Nathan O’Keefe), he uses the recording to blackmail her into submitting to his perverted desires.

Sam Twidale is a photographer and cinematographer born in Oklahoma, and currently living in South Australia. He is part of a filmmaking collective based in Adelaide which produced The Recordist. Whilst obviously sound design plays an important role in making The Recordist, so too does Twidale’s rich, world-building cinematography.

The Recordist is a dark film, visually, with dark themes. A particularly well shot restaurant scene reminds the viewer of cinematographer Elliot Davis’ lighting in Steven Soderbergh’s 1998 film Out of Sight. Slow pan-ins are cleverly used throughout the film to add to already tense scenes. Ultimately, The Recordist feels like a chapter in a larger story about a man with no morals in a position of surprising power. This is a short that should be turned into a feature. And Twidale should shoot it.

Sam Twidale is a photographer and filmmaker based in Adelaide.

Vanessa Abbott is a writer based in Melbourne.

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