Samuel-613 is an electrifying London Short that tells the tale of a young Hasidic Jew growing up in east London, torn between his community and the temptations that lie just outside his door. Shmilu — or is it Samuel, or perhaps online ladies man Samuel-613 — is caught between these various identities and the consequent meltdown — involving bacon, beer and the blind date from hell — adds up to an extremely intense yet always understandable portrait of a soul in crisis.
Writer-director Billy Lumby has skills reminiscent of a young Scorsese, seamlessly shifting his story from nightmare to catharsis, raw realism to slow-mo poetics. He told Londonist why he wanted to make the first fictional film with the capital’s Hasidic population at its centre:
I’m interested by all communities and cultures that are under-represented in cinema. Stamford Hill is such an unusual and vibrant place. And I’m unimaginative in the sense that my immediate surroundings influence a lot of what I do – my local Hackney neighbourhood is always very inspirational. It was important to us that we use non-professional actors from the Hasidic community to create an atmosphere of authenticity.
Lumby has just been accepted onto the Guiding Lights mentoring scheme for first-time feature directors and is developing a movie about psychosis also set in London. Samuel-613 will screen at the BFI London Film Festival next month, while his audacious and troubling previous short God View is also well worth a look.
Want to be featured? If you have a London-themed short film that you’d like us to consider for this series, send an email with the subject “London Shorts” to Stu Black and Ioanna Karavela via our email: londonshorts@
To see other London Shorts click here.