Film - Translations

They say life isn't all black and white, but the new film by Bath-based film maker Keith Kopp is. Tony Cross watched Translations...

Translations is a small scale black and white Welsh film directed by Keith Kopp. It’s the story of Stef (Kate Morgan-Jones)*, an agoraphobic translator, whose life is given new complexity when Evan (Alan Emrys) comes back into her life. Evan was a childhood friend of Stef’s and went travelling with her brother Liam. Liam and Evan were imprisoned and Liam was killed when they were held prisoner.

It’s set, mostly, in Stef’s house. It feels like it was based on a stage play because of its mostly two-handed nature. It’s success depends a lot on the performances and both Kate Morgan-Jones and Alan Emrys are excellent. It’s a talky film, but it also depends a lot on little glances and thoughts. That’s hard to do well, but both Morgan-Jones and Emrys do it well. An intimate film like this would die if the central performances were lacking subtlety. Morgan-Jones also does an excellent job of hiding Stef’s true feelings, of suppression, so that when her anger finally bursts out it feels real and painful. This isn’t ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf’ with its emotions screaming out. It’s all bubbling under or cautiously expressed. Until it isn’t.

It starts slowly but will gradually draw you in as you start to care more and more about the characters and you understand what they’ve been through. There’s something in the way that the two of them are trying to deal with the trauma of Liam’s death that makes them both close and puts up a barrier between them.

I found my sympathies lay more with Stef, especially when Evan seems intent on trying to ‘fix’ Stef, which it seems to me is Evan’s way of trying to fix himself. But it isn’t as easy as that. Its an illustration of the need for men to fix or solve things. Women, as someone once said, are not puzzles to be solved. Even if you have the best intentions.

I also liked the way the script, by Laurence Guy, doesn’t take you down obvious routes. Even when you think it might. The film is bookended by two poems written by Stef, which I liked and assume were written by Laurence Guy.

It’s a nice, small scale film that gives two young actors a chance to really shine and I enjoyed it because the writing, directions and performances actually made me care about these people and their story. The fact that it avoided the most obvious of endings was a bonus.

*Kate Morgan-Jones gets bonus points from me for having done a couple of Big Finish stories.

Translations is screening at the following cinemas over the summer:

Cambridge University Film Association 20th May
Brynamman Public Hall Cinema (Ammanford, Wales) 2nd June
Saltford Community Cinema (Somerset) 9th June
The Ucheldre Centre (Holyhead, Wales) 9th,11th,14th June
Rich Mix Cinema (London) 14th June
Y Ffwrnes (Llanelli, Wales) 20th June
Phoenix Cinema (London) 22nd of June
The Little Theatre (Bath) 25th June
Fairfield Flicks (Worcestershire) 28th of June
The Block Cinema (Manchester) 29th of June
Melksham Film Club (Wiltshire) 30th of June
Wells Maltings 21st July

Follow Tony on Twitter @Lokster71

Images - courtesy Keith Kopp

Powered by Blogger.