British indie director Jon Sanders creates one other of his low-key, considerate films developed by way of improvisation; it’s a static, eccentric chamber piece in some methods, however participating and pregnant with concepts about mourning and grief. Josie Lawrence and Tanya Myers play Dot and Phoebe, two sisters who’ve come to the seaside residence of their late mom, a singer and entertainer, to confront the daunting process of finding out all her belongings and theatrical memorabilia.
This opens up painful recollections and psychic wounds: nonetheless a lot they beloved her, their mom was serially untrue to their father – as soon as with a boyfriend of Phoebe’s – and now they don’t know find out how to really feel. These themes of sexual transgression are unusually echoed within the current motion, as if the ladies’s mom is haunting the property. Their pal Monica (Anna Mottram) who has come to assist them, is drawn to Tom (James Northcote), a younger man who has been housesitting the property; she feels responsible about her husband, a superb cameo from the late Bob Goody.
It’s tough to know precisely what to make of A Intelligent Girl, however it’s because Sanders is a really nonconformist film-maker, and his movie doesn’t match as much as anticipated genres, anticipated narratives, anticipated characters. It doesn’t even resemble the sort of social realism that tends to get public funding, being unfashionably concerning the just-about-managing British center courses. With its lengthy takes, its melancholy evocation of theatre and quiet unhappiness, the movie is nearly Bergmanesque: however actually too briskly comedian for that comparability to be correct.
In some methods, Sanders is pursuing a sort of hyperlocal cinema, a cinema that follows its nostril to varied concepts and conditions after which away from them. It’s a assured, managed piece of labor which supplies us a sliver of Englishness.