Thursday, 16 March 2017

Black Mountain Poets
Dir: Jamie Adams
If you're going to make a improvised low-budget comedy film in just five days then you need a good but simple idea, talented, intelligent and funny performers and a firm belief in guerrilla film-making. Thankfully, Jamie Adam's 2015 film Black Mountain Poets has all of the above. The film is about neurotic sisters Claire and Lisa Walker (played by the brilliant Dolly Wells and Alice Lowe) who we first see trying to steal a digger from a excavation site, for environmental reasons we are lead to believe. The sisters are spotted and decide to go on the run in the Black Mountains of wales where they steal a car belonging to two internationally renowned poets known as The Wilding Sister. The pair decide to assume the siblings identities and drive to the weekend poetry retreat the sisters were headed to as guest speakers. Unfazed but constantly in a state of selfish neurosis, the Walker sisters attach themselves to the group in any way they can and romance blossoms between Lisa and Richard (played by Tom Cullen) much to the annoyance of his successful but rather full of herself girlfriend Louise (played by Rosa Robson). The sisters soon find solace and inspiration from their camping trip full of arguments, cold tents and bad poetry until of course the The Wilding Sisters turn up with the police in tow. The improvised comedy in the film is second to none, the poetry theme lends itself well to this without it being insulting to poets, as it really does just target 'bad' poetry. Dolly Wells and Alice Lowe make it look easy, both are on top form and both of them carry the film effortlessly. There is a scene in the film whereby one of them reads a supermarket receipt as a poem and it's a brilliantly subtle satirical swipe at the current trend of poetry and spoken word in that it sounds good but is ultimately meaningless. The awkwardness that follows is golden. The sisters are incredibly irritating but they are also quite vulnerable, you want them to succeed even though they probably don't deserve to, making them rather interesting and contemporary anti-heroes. It had a limited release and was premiered at the 2015 Edinburgh Film Festival and is another great example of intelligent and funny low-budget comedy that isn't given the wide release it deserves.

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