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REVIEW: Labey 'dares to dream' in pressure cooker drama

REVIEW: Labey 'dares to dream' in pressure cooker drama

Friday 06 May 2022

REVIEW: Labey 'dares to dream' in pressure cooker drama

Friday 06 May 2022

A film exploring toxic masculinity starring a Jersey actor turned 'Eastender' as an aspiring chef with an abusive celebrity father has been released this week.

‘Dare to Dream’ is the latest project of Guernsey filmmaker and director Alex Bates.

Its premiere was held to a packed audience at Beau Sejour in Guernsey, and Bailiwick Express Guernsey's Acting News Editor, Matthew Leach, went along to see it. His first impression of the short feature was how professional it looked...

Alex Bates may have written and directed a heartfelt and passionate piece, but it was Matthew Stockreiter, Director of Photography, who helped bring a level of polish to the screen that I didn’t realise could happen in Guernsey.

This professional touch, coupled with a handful of actors truly giving it their all, gave weight to Alex’s script. 

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The film was short and so inherently quite blunt, following the story of young chef Theo (Jonny Labey) trying to live up to the expectations of his overbearing, drug abusing, chef father Ryan (Bryan Ferguson).

It began simply, with a cooking competition - Theo in the kitchen whipping up some kind of aubergine dish with short, choppy edits and a bouncy jazzy score.

Yet this upbeat and almost fun introduction to Dare to Dream descended fairly rapidly after the introduction of Ryan into a swirling nightmare. I’ll spare the spoilers, but the moody use of lighting, fog and unusual panning shots led the film to a bleak ending.

Alex clearly wanted to create more than just a simple drama. The film became symbolic and experimental, more of a foray into art cinema than anything else.


Pictured: The cast and crew hosted a Q&A after screening the film.

Guernsey has a rich creative industry and films like Dare to Dream are essential. It was commendable to try and explore difficult subjects such as toxic masculinity, and the mental health issues arising from work in the infamously intense cooking industry; but it was the bravery to put it all on screen that got me.

To gather actors, composers, sound designers, producers and editors together in Guernsey and create something not only coherent, but good, is an accomplishment we should support.


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