A couple of Months before Sophie started to become a reality; I remember having a very interesting conversation with Phil Arntz, the film’s director, on our way to the Center of Manchester about the script of the film.
Phil has this unique angle from the War seeing that he is from German descent. It was so inspiring to hear someone that was born generations after the war understand what it meant and its impact in every Human Being's destiny from that point forward.
In those times, Wars meant something, the people that fought them actually believed they were fighting for something, greater than just Money, oil, or power. Wars were personal, they were not fought to indulge the press´s appetite for fear or shock, they were not fought behind computer systems and computerized flying drones. People fought wars, they died in them.
Sophie reflects this feeling of solitude and separation from everything that is familiar and safe. As we follow this abandoned soldier’s ordeal through the cold and abrasive trenches, we can’t help it but feel a sense of inevitability In how this journey is going to end. There is beauty to this inevitable predicament that is captured to perfection in the film.
It’s hard to believe the film was shot under £3k, and the only way someone would be able to pull this off is to build an exceptional team emotionally committed to the project. Robin Varley’s performance is well beyond anything I have seen this year in a short film. Its engaging, intense, he surrenders himself completely to the character.Technically, Phil Arntz work is very easy to single out. There is just something about the way he frames shots that is very particular to him. It is a cinematic look that is not something that a lens or an expensive camera will necessarily give. Its part of the DNA of a great Cinematographer.