EIFF 2015 – Black Mountain Poets

Dir: Jamie Adams

Black Mountain Poets is the latest film from Welsh director and screenwriter Jamie Adams, who brought us Benny & Jolene and A Wonderful Christmas Time. It’s a charmingly ramshackle comedy, starring Alice Lowe and Dolly Wells as a pair of sisters on the run after trying to nick a JCB digger. They soon find themselves stealing a car belonging to two beat poets called the Wilding Sisters. When they find an invitation to a poet’s camping retreat in the glovebox, they decide to become poets for the weekend. Why not? How hard can performance beat poetry be?

Quite tricky, actually, but they manage to con the other poets at the retreat into thinking they are, in fact, the Wilding Sisters, and the assembled group head off into the Black Mountains in search of inspiration. The sisters are instantly attracted to the hunky Richard, played by Tom Cullen. Richard, in turn, is torn between his spoiled on/off girlfriend (played by Rosa Robson) and the two sisters. Rounding out the cast is Richard Elis and Laura Patch, who witness the ongoing emotional drama, while harbouring not-so-secret crushes themselves.

Black Mountain Poets was shot in only five days, and has a freewheeling atmosphere appropriate for a bunch of hapless poets. Much of the dialogue feels improvised, but this cast is adept at finding what’s funny in their situation, especially the always great Alice Lowe. It might be an offbeat brand of humour, but Black Mountain Poets is still very funny. It can be poignant too. Adams makes the most of his location. Even in the autumn drizzle, the Welsh Black Mountains look stunning. Poetical, even.

At its heart, it’s a goofy, warm comedy, even if the actors look like they’re freezing their bits off. Those of an indie sensibility should check this out.

****

Stuart Addison

 

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