Jon Sanders’ little films are pretty unique in the British film landscape, gentle yet powerful musings on the passing of time and the ephemeral nature of love. Low Tide and Late September established his troupe of players and his improvisational, work-shopped style.
It leads to dialogue which sails too close to banality for some, but for me, when it works, arrives at a soul-shaking emotional truth.
The latest gathers the gang together at a French country house, where they’re working on a play, trying to sculpt a character through interviews and workshops, and a little puppetry.
Meanwhile, the work on the character seeps into the real life of an actress (Anna Mottram) and her husband, the director of the piece, played by Bob Goody.
The wind blows through the leaves and the landscape works its effect, as does the red wine. There’s a hint of masque, here, as there was in Sanders’ last film Back to the Garden, but it’s mysterious and fluid here, a midsummer’s dream.
By the end, all the important things have been questioned and overturned in the film’s unhurried rythms – the quality of ambition, the definition of success, the longevity of marriage, the last gasps of freedom and the ticking of time. It’s a profoundly affecting portrait, and maybe not for everyone, but it deals with disappointment and regret in a way that’s thoughtful and touching, where hope and happiness are imbued with a gentle melancholy, warmed by a setting sun.