Friday, 26 June 2015

Black Mountain Poets

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.

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks which take you to other webpages where you can find out more.


Maureen @ Josephina Ballerina said...

Oh, would I love to see this. Reminds me of a film from years back called Happy, Texas. Two escaped convicts hijack a caravan and then have to pretend to be the van's owners -two gay child beauty pageant coaches.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Hi Maureen, now that sounds like a film I'd enjoy!

Bill said...

The improv makes this sound interesting. That sort of thing so seldom works. When I saw the heading of this, I thought you were talking about the American Black Mountain, a fascinating story in itself. John Wieners, one of the Black Mountain poets, was a college classmate of mine. He and I were co-athors of our college yearbook. That was long before I met haiku.