With Scotland one of the few places where it can be found, the freshwater pearl mussel is one of the most endangered molluscs in the world. It's now also the central theme in a new Scottish romantic comedy Scottish Mussel which received it's world premiere today at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.
Ritchie and his three pals are unemployed and restless so they try a spot of illegal fishing for pearls up in the beautiful Highlands of Scotland. Along the way Ritchie falls for Beth (Talulah Riley, who also wrote and directed the film), a conservationist passionate about saving Scottish wildlife particularly the freshwater pearl mussel.
So begins a hilarious (and often very silly) comedy. Will the lads give up their illegal activities and become unlikely conservation heroes? Will Beth ditch the irritating, American conservationist Ethan for Ritchie's Scottish charms? Will the criminal overlords get their comeuppance and will the local police finally find themselves with the satisfaction of capturing 'real villains'?
The action is aided by the stunning setting and the addition of an injured otter who is nursed back to health through the course of the film.
Behind all the humour, the film addresses (occasionally slightly heavy handedly) several important issues around wildlife conservation, including pollution, the ever-pressing need for funding and the threat of poaching on populations of endangered animals.
Well worth watching.
(and this is great news for the real life conservation of pearl mussels).
Scottish Mussel is showing for a second time at the Edinburgh International Film festival at 1540, 27 June at Cineworld. It is also showing as part of Best of the Fest at 12.20 Sunday 28 June at Filmhouse.
You can read my other reviews from the film festival by following the links below:
Liza the Fox Fairy - a 'delightfully bonkers' film from Hungary
Black Mountain Poets - sisters on the run join a poetry retreat in the Welsh mountains
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.