British TV director Joanna Hogg’s debut feature, shot during a hot summer in the Tuscan hills, has none of the trappings of Merchants Ivory’s A Room with a View, that other British heritage film made in the same location.
Forty-something Anna’s (Kathryn Worth) marriage is in trouble. She accepts an invitation to spend the summer with her old school friend Verena (Mary Roscoe) at their villa in Tuscany. Long lunches, daytrips, drinking games and nocturnal skinny dips are the order of the day; and Anna soon finds she is more inclined to hang out with the family teenagers rather than those her own age. In particular Verena’s son Oakley (deliciously played by Tom Hiddleston) catches her eye and they begin an intense flirtation. With temperatures rising, Anna slowly begins to unravel.
Hogg’s fresh style is more reminiscent of an Eric Rohmer tale than anything anglophile while her portrait of an older childless bourgeois woman is brilliantly drawn out – with imaginative camerawork and editing and a script full of tensions and complexities. Recommended.
GFT, Glasgow, Fri 10–Sun 12 Oct; Filmhouse, Edinburgh, Fri 17–Thu 23 Oct.