by Peter Callaghan
Choreographer-turned-director Jane Gull – who during pantomime rehearsals several years ago should have received some sort of Laurence Olivier Award for manipulating my two left feet and rigid frame into what can only be described as a drunk man conducting traffic to a beat of his own making – will have her debut feature film My Feral Heart screened at a variety of cinemas throughout the UK, including The Belmont in Aberdeen from the 1st to the 3rd of November and The Cameo in Edinburgh on the 3rd and 5th of December.
Given that I missed its screening at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival, from what I can gather from a string of favourable reviews (Variety: “nuanced and grounded”, “pleasing and credible”) it tells the tale of Luke (Stephen Brandon), a young man with Down’s syndrome who following the death of his elderly mother is forced by the authorities to live in a care home. Frustrated by the restrictions placed upon his long-held freedom, he recoils into his shell in anger and confusion. But through time reluctantly adapts to his surroundings and forms a close bond with an attractive female carer and a likeable young offender.
Then, one day, Luke’s life changes forever when he discovers an unconscious woman lying in a field whom he secretly nurses back to health in a disused barn like a feral animal (hence the title). But love and understanding give way to fear and confusion when members of a local fox hunt stumble upon his find. What happens next? As Bob Dylan might have sung: The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind of a cinema ticket
Screenings are limited and run largely via the cinema-on-demand platform Our Screen, which means that they will only go ahead if sufficient pre-sales of tickets are reached. The Stratford East Picturehouse will host its gala opening on the first of November and for the remainder of the month it will tour key UK cities including Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham. However, if you think your local cinema would attract a following, there is an option to start the ball rolling at Our Screen’s website.
In this day and age when it’s becoming increasingly difficult to secure funding (private or public) to produce let alone distribute a film, which doesn’t feature a Name or have the backing of a major Hollywood Studio, credit to director Jane Gull and screenwriter Duncan Paveling for taking a punt and sticking to their cause – which by all accounts is a heart-warming and worthy one. How many trips to the flicks can we honestly say that about!