Based on the novel written by: Lewis Grassic Gibbon
Starring: Agyness Deyn, Peter Mullan; Kevin Guthrie.
Set in the early 20th century, Sunset Song is a heart breaking film but as director Terence Davies states, a story that needs to be told.
Chris (Agyness Deyn) is a young girl growing up in the beautiful enduring and sometimes harsh Scottish country of the Aberdeenshire.
This is a place where beauty may not last but will be the more beautiful for it. Where love may not last but the land will continue to endure.
The story centres around Chris and her life from family tragedy to marriage to the First World War.
Sunset Song is a love story but also a story of Scotland and the bittersweet nature of life. There’s such cruelty yet such sweetness that feels lost in this modern age. And to be reminded of the sacrifice of our Grandparents and all those who lost their lives during the war and broke their family’s heart is truly humbling: Lest We Forget.
I was immediately captured by the opening scene of Chris lying in the middle of a crop of wheat, hidden from view; the sun on her face. I used to do the same thing but amongst the green stalks of canola. Being hidden from everything and everyone except the sky.
I loved the simplicity of this film. The soundtrack mostly the characters themselves singing.
A close friend of Chris narrates the story, describing the poetry of Chris’ life. The lightness of the words used to balance the harsh reality sometimes endured. And that’s the main theme here – the endurance of the characters like the endurance of the Scottish landscape. The camera work showing the rolling green hills, the rain, mud and filtered sunlight another character of this classic Scottish story.
Plenty of space and quiet was allowed into the film. Personally, some of the scenes could have been cut or shortened. But that’s just my mile-a-minute modern city brain. The film slows the mind to grasp the sweetness, the tragedy; cruelty and humility.
I wondered at the use of nudity in the film, somewhat jarring in the context of modesty, but then there was also length given to the cruelty, the light from the church window and the sermon given, to the poetry and the singing – all given in equal measure, all giving weight to the film. This is a modern understanding of a classic story to the heart of remembering and never forgetting.
So easy to get carried away with such an emotive story. I find war films difficult because it’s too close; too real. The times where child birth could so easily kill the mother, the times so easily forgotten. But Sunset Song is beautiful film and well worth watching.
Bring your tissues, lasses, and lads, bring your heart.
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