Filmed in 5 days this improvised drama follows the story of Claire and Lisa two sisters on the run who steal a car. They find out that the car belongs to the Wilding Sisters, poets on their way to a poetry retreat in the Welsh Black Mountains. The car thieves decide that a poetry retreat will be an ideal place to hide out if only they can successfully pretend to be poets.
The small group of poets hike through the stunning mountain scenery with the aim of letting nature bring inspiration to them. Claire and Lisa both fall for Richard, a genuine poet, which causes much jealousy from his prima donna ex-girlfriend. All the characters struggle with the challenges of erecting tents and composing off-the-cuff free-form poetry.
Claire and Lisa at first struggle with the concept of poetry. When Claire challenges the other poets about their pretensions, she suggests that their poems are no better than random readings of till receipts. She then goes on to read a till receipt (including a dramtic rendering of the bar-code) with a wonderfully natural air of poetry. Later she abandons the group to their hike and wanders off to immerse herself in nature and to try to discover her own poetic voice.
The film is beautifully filmed, showing the scenery and plantlife to best advantage and at the same time is hilarious, with the various rivalries and misunderstandings between the characters. It's an excellent example of a successful improvisation, I barely noticed it was improvised after the first five minutes, the dialogue has a wonderfully natural feel to it.
Although not explicity mentioned in the film, I suspect the idea of the Welsh Black Mountain Poetry Retreat was inspired by the mid 20th Century American Black Mountain Poets.
Black Mountain Poets got its world premiere at Edinburgh International Film Festival and was the worthy winner of the Student Critics Jury Award at the festival.
The film should be released into UK cinemas pretty soon and is well worth seeing, specially if you're a poet with a sense of humour.
You can read my other reviews from the film festival by following the links below:
Desert Dancer - drama inspired by the life of Iranian dancer Afshin Ghaffarian
Under Milk Wood - a new cinematic interpretation of Dylan Thomas' classic prose poem
Brand New U - futuristic thriller / love story
Of Chickens and Camels
- a review of Chicken (a wonderful coming of age film about a teenager
with learning difficultie) and Nearby Sky (a documentary about the camel
beauty contests in the Emirates).
Infini - disaster on an off-planet mine
La Tirisia - love and life in the cacti covered mountains of Mexico
When Elephants Fight - conflict minerals in Congo
Iron Ministry - a cinematic journey through China by rail
Index Zero - dystopian SF set in a future Fortress Europe
30 Days Wild goes to the cinema - how the landscape backdrops two films set in very different countries (Sand Dollars and The Gulls)
Disclaimer - I have a press pass for the film festival and attended a free press screening of this film.
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