Tuesday, February 11, 2014

French demons...

Yes, I said I wouldn't go on about M.R.James for a bit...come to that, I said I didn't really review stuff either.
So I'm now as loaded down with my own transgressions as a pack pony. Still, in the interests of sharing all interesting new material relating to the ghost stories of M.R.James, I really felt I ought to mention this new adaptation of Canon Alberic's Scrap-book by The Holiday Movie Company! Do take a look...if you dare!

Maker Simon Glidewell (who also plays Dennistoun in the film) says, "Only two of us made this (directing, acting, camera, sound, lighting, editing) to demonstrate to new film makers what is possible with limited resources and no money. The film follows the original story very closely, being shot in the south of France." (Only two of them, that is...and the thing. Brrrr.)

The action of the story has been made contemporary, which I don't think impacts negatively on it, although perhaps nowadays a collector might not look so disparagingly upon "a stupid missal of Plantin's printing, about 1580" as they did a century ago! The film was made on location in Saint-Michel l'Observatoire. I have been to St. Bertrand de Comminges (above) where the story is set, and if it was not possible for practical reasons to shoot there, I think Saint-Michel l'Observatoire made a fair substitute. It does have the steep narrow streets that typify Comminges, and some stills of Comminges are blended into the visuals.

Daniel Girault makes an intriguing sacristan, seemingly with a rather less tender conscience than the sacristan in the original story: he seems eager to strike his bargain, and rather gloating!

I enjoyed one particularly Jamesian touch: the sacristan's crouching posture in the church recalls James McBryde's illustration of the same moment in the story.

I shan't say any more. Watch - and I'd love to hear what you think!

1 comment:

  1. The atmosphere, location and two main actors are excellent. This film deserves a wider audience and distribution. It is a real treat for M.R. James fans and those who enjoy a good ghost story, particularly at Christmas.