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Horseshoe (1998)

An elderly man has his dental appointment confirmed, he walks there from a group of tall apartment blocks, has a mould made of his teeth, it is rejected and another made. That's it. Filmed ... See full summary »


David Lodge


Charles Bukowski (poem), David Lodge
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview:
Alan Hickman Alan Hickman ... Charles
Lyn Waldegrave Lyn Waldegrave ... Dentist (as Lyn Waldgrave)
Louis Louis ... Patient
Diane Simmons Diane Simmons ... Receptionist
Don Fellows ... Charles (voice)


An elderly man has his dental appointment confirmed, he walks there from a group of tall apartment blocks, has a mould made of his teeth, it is rejected and another made. That's it. Filmed in retro scratchy and spotty sepia throughout. Written by Stewart Naunton <snaunton@online.ru>

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Short | Drama







Release Date:

May 1998 (France) See more »

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User Reviews

Well directed and well written, but a little too veiled in pretension and artsy meaning
12 November 2002 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

An old man dozes on his sofa when he is woken by a telephone call. It reminds him that he has a dentists appointment and not to miss it. He walks out through the park to the surgery. He has a mould of his teeth made but the dentist isn't pleased with it and she takes a second mould.

And that's the plot! Doesn't sound exciting does it? And it isn't really, instead it is a message film of sorts. The meaning is hidden in metaphors and within the words and I found it quite hard to penetrate. I don't know the original poem so I felt I was immediately starting from a disadvantage and struggled to catch up. The film appears to be looking at old age in some way shape or form but I'm not going to front and pretend I totally got it.

I have seen it twice and still can't see a very clear point that the film is trying to make. It perhaps alludes to the inevitability of death. The old man tries not to be ill by focusing on the supposed calmness of nature, in particular the calming effect of the trees outside. But the trees taunt him with the inevitability of things that must happen. `I'm going to gag' he says, but the mountains don't care. This film won a prize at Cannes but for shorts I don't always see this as a guarantee of being enjoyable or accessible. Often film festivals award the shorts that are artsy or steeped in deep meaning without making their point in an obvious way.

Horseshoe made me feel like it was deliberately trying to hide it's meaning. It is directed like an aged film – full of memory and put on cracked, browned out film. The direction is good and the dialogue is very well written and perfectly pitched in the relaxed American tones of the narrator. But I just felt that it wasn't aimed at people like me who need a little bit of help in interpretation. This was almost like those dreadful art movies that just seem to be made to shun an audience and deny access all but the most pretentious.

Happily it is not quite that bad, although a little more help would have been appreciated. The direction and dialogue make it watchable in a hypnotic type of fashion. I enjoyed this but I suspect it is aimed at an audience that is more comfortable to make more lofty statements about the deep hidden meaning, how it touched their soul and other such pretentious aspirations. For me I enjoyed it but needed the door to be opened a little wider to truly appreciate it.

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