Tag Archives: selly oak

The Bridge @ The Guild of Students

the bridge

Making a film can’t be easy. Making a film really can’t be easy when you’re a student, so Cassiah Joski-Jethi’s The Bridge is a triumph for just existing. Written and directed by Joski-Jethi, co-directed and produced by Nicole Rixon and Elisha Owen respectively, and featuring a cast of almost exclusively students, The Bridge follows Lynn (Stephanie Rendall), an eighteen year-old woman whose dreams of being a dancer are interrupted by family tragedy, incompetent adults and an inescapable neighbourhood.

The most striking thing about the film was its stunning shots. Selly Oak and Edgbaston are substitutes for London, and while the landmarks are recognisable for any University of Birmingham student, the shots set up by Joski-Jethi are beautiful. Lynn’s isolation is a key part of this film, and Joski-Jethi utilises space, depth and blurring to add to this effect. The canal-side scenes are perhaps the most visually-arresting, and should make anyone who lives in Birmingham reconsider the city’s beauty. Nick Charlesworth’s original score is equally as beautiful, creating a sense of tranquillity in the troublesome world of the film.

The film is host to some good performances, and an excellent balance of the humorous and serious. The Officer (Jack Robertson) and Jane (Anna Roberts) offer some brilliant and much needed comedic relief throughout the film, while Lynn’s relationships with other characters explore connections more seriously, focusing on obligation and trust. The interactions between Lynn and Bobby (Ethan Owen), her younger brother, are particularly enjoyable to watch: the script wonderfully captures the sibling dynamic.

In her pre-screening speech, Joski-Jethi stated that she felt the film was a time capsule containing the houses her cast have lived in, buildings that no longer exist and streets that we walk down daily. This astute way of identifying the film can encompass the film as a whole: undoubtedly, when some of the cast and crew have made their names in the film or theatre industry – as the hard work and performances indicate – this film will contain their early work; perhaps one day it will gain a cult status.

Not only were the audience given an exclusive viewing of the film, we were lucky enough to watch the ‘Making of’. In a film where most of the characters are isolated, or seem to lack true friendships, it was lovely to see the cast and crew of The Bridge working together harmoniously and having fun.

Post-screening entertainment also included a performance from the recently formed a capella group the J Walkers. Their original arrangements of popular songs including Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back to Black’ and Ray Charles’s ‘Hit the Road, Jack’ were incredibly impressive and enjoyable to watch.

The evening was concluded with a sketch show set from comedy duo Jacob Lovick and Tyler Harding. The pair’s comedic timing was on point and their comradery palpable. The duo’s set was well-rehearsed, and incorporated the slight technical glitches well. Student comedy can often be quite self-referential, but Lovick and Harding’s set moved outside the university sphere, making it all the more entertaining.

What The Bridge premiere showed was an extraordinary amount of talent in the university’s community. This talent is varied, but when used effectively in a team, projects one might have thought impossible come into existence. If this is just the starting point for this group of creative individuals, I am excited to see where they go next. 

By Jenna Clake
@jennaclake

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‘Hidden Gem’ of the Balti Triangle, Al Frash

The Balti Triangle of South East Birmingham epitomises freshness, flavour and the spice explosion your taste buds desire when you sit down for a true Pakistani/Kashmiri Balti experience. Al Frash, which translates from Persian to ‘The Butterfly’, was my first experience of a traditional Balti. It is without doubt a hidden gem of a restaurant. Established in 1991, its numerous accolades include being a finalist for Birmingham’s Best India Restaurant 2011, which acknowledges its cultural charm.

The Balti is a cultural highlight in itself. Loosely based on home-style traditional cooking, the Balti came to Birmingham in the mid-1970s. Its defining features include the wide cast-iron pan shaped bowl it is served in, and also named after, which is perfect for navigating your naan to wipe up all the delicious juices and spices. The bowls have become a crucial cultural addition as they are now manufactured in Birmingham. It is also, as many weight-watchers may be pleased to know, made with fresh spices rather than pastes and has a tomato and onion base with the use of vegetable oil instead of ghee – making the Balti a healthy and authentic alternative. Although, I cannot doubt that once you have tried the dish and the restaurants’ other beautiful offerings, you will leave feeling stuffed.

Al Frash certainlyprovides something extra for their customers. When I entered the small pocket of wonder amidst the vibrancy of Ladypool road, I could appreciate why Al Frash was praised highly online. We were made to feel immediately at home. The sole waiter, upon being asked if we needed to pay for the car park opposite, joked that we just needed to pay him whatever we felt was adequate. He gave a beaming smile and led us to a cosy table in the corner of the restaurant. It is the perfect size for an intimate dinner and has a friendly atmosphere – being full of locals who were obviously regulars.

We started with the sizzling lamb chops tikka, where my fellow curry taster remarked ‘the meat just melts in your mouth’, and the chicken tikka, which was also succulent and juicy. You cannot deny the freshness of the spices used in the dishes. The side of yogurt and pickles we enjoyed with our poppadum had that deep, rich flavour you look for in a good dip. It probably would have been sacrilege not to order a Balti in the Balti Triangle, so we duly ordered chicken and king prawn traditional Baltis with the obligatory naan and rice. It was unbelievably good value for money. The meat and fish were cooked to perfection, and the presentation of the Balti itself was fabulous: sitting in the traditional bowl, next to a naan far too big for the plate. It was clear, from the stilting of the conversation, that it was exactly what we had hoped for.

My experience of the Balti triangle has opened my eyes to another part of Birmingham’s rich culture and heritage. The Balti Triangle also provides great insight into the communities and culture of the area. Each individually prepared dish has been exceptional every time I have visited. It would be a travesty to miss out on the beauty of Chef Azam’s offerings, and the prices are perfect with the usual BYOB policy. Al Frash is a far reach from the curry houses of Selly Oak.

Holly Abel

@HollyAbel3