The Love Permit (2010) – By James Dubbeldam

The Love Permit is a smart, innovative short film by director Christopher Ludgate. I find it rare that a short film leaves you with a message. Keeps you thinking. This is one of them.

Mr. Young (Scott Key), a man in love, goes to get a “Love and Sex permit” so he can be with his partner. But as he appeals to the “Administrator” (Russell Saylor) for the permission it soon becomes clear that it’s gonna be a struggle.

The film isn’t set in a world we know, but rather a world we all believe could exist; in fact many people live in such a society such as this where basic freedoms are restricted.
Set in a few simple locations (three) the “permit office”, which looks and feels like a large, beautiful bank (almost like a train station), is an isolated location which leads itself well to a desolate government-run agency for issuing such permits, for those (the few) that dare.

The Administrator isn’t going to cough over a permit over easily. But Mr. Young is naïve and in love. He doesn’t realize how things work around him. But passion is contagious. It’s easy to see that his “love” for another is strong. And he’s willing to stand up for it. Is there any way he can fight and win the battle?

The film starts quite simply with a man (Mr. Young) receiving a text from his loved one. He builds the confidence to go after the permit he needs to follow through with what he already has and feels (love- and possibly sex).

Wearing a suit and looking professional, he leaves his apartment which is under surveillance from a video camera. In fact, it seems that almost everything is being “monitored” in this make-believe world. The world feels futuristic, but at the same time most of us will recognize it from works such as “1984”.

It’s funny, interesting, realistic. Seeing Mr. Young “breaking the rules” is enjoyable. Especially when the film is so well crafted. The strict world he lives in feels real, his quest for the “love” permit is applaudable and easily accepted by the audience, almost everyone can understand where he is coming from.

The locations work in the film’s favour. As mentioned earlier, the “permit office” is massive, daunting and cold. Like being in a train station alone. It’s almost scary. Unless you have a mission like Mr. Young.

With great dialogue and excellent acting from the two actors, The Love Permit is a strong short film that has been shown in many film festivals thus far- and deserves the recognition.

As invested in the film as I could be, when the film changed locations for the last scene, I breathed a sigh of relief. It was as if it was perfect timing for me. You see, I don’t like single location films. Most audiences don’t. Even within a single locating, there are different areas of the location, different angles and perspectives that can be taken advantage of. And when you do change it up as a filmmaker, it can definitely work in your favour. It’s almost as if Mr. Ludgate waited to the last moment to do so. But done very well.

If you have a chance to, check out The Love Permit. You won’t be disappointed.