Mark Jenkin, UK, 2019
The natives of a Cornish fishing village are trying to cope with a changing world, as incomers from London threaten their traditional way of life. So this is a very contemporary story, but one that must have been repeated throughout human history, as times change and new ways of living replace old ones.
I think this is why Jenkin tells this story in the way he does. Using old film stock (? Seems like it, or he’s digitally made it that way), it’s in square format black and white, complete with scratches and bad audio track (which made it so hard to hear the dialogue that I often found myself relying on the Catalan subtitles!). Even the acting is occasionally a little wooden, like an old film, and he uses a lot of close-up face shots to convey the action.
But this wasn’t an annoying novelty, instead it worked really well, complementing and adding to the drama and the characters. He also cuts in snippets of action related to what’s happening now, but as portents of what’s going to happen or what’s happening that is unspoken. Super interesting! I’d like to see Jenkin’s short films and documentaries.