Sunday, July 10, 2016

brown willy…

I went along to the Watershed (with Hannah and Felix) this afternoon to see a special screening of a rather special film, called Brown Willy (named after the hill in Cornwall – the highest point on Bodmin Moor)… which included a Q+A session with the film’s director, Brett Harvey, its producer/one of its two actors (Pete), Simon Harvey, and its cinematographer, Adam Laity… plus a live performance by Three Cane Whale (as you might already know, I’ve become one of their groupies!), who provided the musical backdrop to the film.
It was shot (quite brilliantly to my mind) in black+white on Bodmin Moor in just 10 days and on an absolutely minimum budget. The film’s only two characters (Michael and Pete) are getting together for a weekend on the Moor. Michael (played by Ben Dyson) is about to get married and the weekend takes the form of an alternative stag do. Michael and Pete (both 40 year-olds) have known each other since childhood, but have grown apart over recent years and don’t talk as often as they used to. Michael is a rather prim, uptight character while Pete doesn’t really seem to have grown up.
They end up getting drunk, then high… then lost on the Moor (as you do).
Moira had decided, having seen the Watershed’s blurb, that the film wasn’t for her (she thought it sounded a bit like an English version of Alexander Payne’s “Sideways” – and, in a way, she was right). Despite the film’s somewhat ludicrous premise (given Michael’s prim, organised nature – SURELY, he’d have taken a map and a compass on his trip?)(and, whilst you could get lost on Dartmoor, I suspect it’s rather harder to do so on Bodmin Moor!), it’s an entertaining, funny and, at times, quite poignant film. The cinematography is simply stunning (it certainly reminded me of my time on Dartmoor helping to train young people for Ten Tors) and the music is quite, quite brilliant (I might be slightly prejudiced here?). Interestingly, director Bret Harvey was already familiar with Three Cane Whale’s music and, having obtained their permission to use some of it for the film, played it as the crew’s constant “musical travelling companion” throughout its filming – which resulted in the film being edited to suit the music rather than the other way around… and it works perfectly.
If you get the chance to see this film (it’s not on general release), then you should definitely take it. It’s a charming film.
Photo: Three Cane Whale performing after the Q+A session.


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