Black Pond

Just back from a screening of British indie film Black Pond, a very funny black comedy about a quietly dysfunctional family accused of murder after a near-stranger dies in their house.

Interviews with the family members – hopelessly bored dad, frustrated artist mum, two feckless teenage daughters and the rather wet flatmate who’s in love with them both – are interspersed with the events of the oddest weekend of their life.  Dad meets a poetic and socially uninhibited stranger at the local pond, invites him in for a cuppa, and the next thing they know they have a dead dog, a marital crisis, a box full of poetry and a corpse at the dinner table.  Then there’s the world’s worst psychiatrist, and (probably the best laugh in the film) the book of One Word Poems…

Great question and answer session afterwards with writer/ co-director Will Sharpe and co-director Tom Kingsley.  This is their first feature, filmed in four weeks at Sharpe’s parents’ house, which they continued without a budget even after their original funder pulled out.

Editing, special effects, colour timing, they did the whole thing themselves, and it looks fantastic.  Remember the days when low-budget digital movies looked grey and fuzzy?  Those days are long gone.

Fascinating to hear how the project evolved in editing, too.  The film originally had no interviews, and unfolded in chronological order.  Almost a third of the material they’d shot was cut, and replaced by the interviews, meaning what early viewers had taken to be a twist ending was now obvious from the very beginning of the film.  This changed it, in their words, from a story about what happens to a story about why it happened.

Anyway, I’m giving it a quick plug here because – despite being BAFTA-nominated – it doesn’t have a distributor, and Kingsley and Sharpe are basically going around nagging individual cinemas into showing it.  So get on to your local cinema, pronto!

UPDATE FOR U.S. READERS –  Black Pond will receive its US premiere at the SXSW festival in March.  Yaaay!

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