Steve Oram could not be more different than Smith, the character he plays in his directorial debut Aaaaaaaah! (that’s eight ‘a’s for googling purposes).
The quiet, funny Leicestershire-born filmmaker known for Sightseers and The World’s End took to the stage at Phoenix on Saturday 7th November to introduce his John Waters-inspired image of a world where humans have evolved beyond language, talking with ape-like grunts while doing despicable and hilarious things.
Body parts are lost, people are horribly abused, and Toyah Willcox has cake thrown in her face. It’s a hilarious film, an inspired demonstration of the potential of the medium. You soon forget the lack of dialogue and start watching a movie about relationships, jealousy, and you never doubt what’s happening on screen.
Steve Oram speaks
Oram returned after the film to answer audience questions, which were surprisingly serious for a film which is at times so silly. Ranging from social class and aspect ratios, to sound design and world creation, Oram answered everything with a charming levity, as funny and thought provoking as the film itself.
He spoke of the filmmaking process, surprisingly low key and shot in two weeks (‘All you’ve got is a flat in south London with some mates’), which was inspiring to the room of young filmmakers. He also spoke of the more philosophical implications of the film.
‘It is a trashy film, absolutely. John Waters is my hero, because he’s so unserious about everything, and that’s part of the whole thing with this – how language makes us really serious,’ Oram said.
‘The human race is pompous really, we all swan around saying we’re better than ducks and we have so many amazing thoughts, but actually we’re just filthy beasts with these awful urges, and often violent, sexual horror goes on within us while we surround ourselves with language.’
Oram would not have said this in front of just any audience, and it felt like a group of like-minded people discussing something important to them. The showing and Q&A was more like a convention or a fan meeting than a standard screening: you get to watch a highly regarded film on a very limited release, and then pick the director’s brain about it afterwards. It was a huge treat for British, surreal comedy nerds and an eye-opening evening for anyone interested in low-budget filmmaking.