The Passing

 

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A Welsh language production, this drama may be rooted in its location but has echoes even so of several other recent films.

 

Passing, The

 

With The Passing Gareth Bryn makes his first feature film and it’s based on an original screenplay by Ed Talfan. The use throughout of the Welsh language underlines its emphasis on a particular location   since the story is set in a remote valley. Here, following on a car crash, a young couple, Sara (Annes Elwy) and Iwan (Dyfan Dwyfor) find themselves rescued by a loner, Stanley (Mark Lewis-Jones), who has a farm in the area. Indeed Stanley tends to Iwan’s injuries, but the atmosphere in the house is somehow mysterious, even sinister. Their host is relatively elderly and lives alone, but there are female clothes in the wardrobe, a child’s toys are glimpsed and in the attic there is an animal head. Furthermore, when Richard Stoddard’s camera looks up the hill towards this building one suddenly thinks of Psycho.

But it is other, more recent films, with which The Passing has the closest affinity. The set-up is not without echoes of the Estonian drama Tangerines, while the fact that this is virtually a three-hander played out in a rural setting and starting with little dialogue links it to The Survivalist. If those films were in many ways stronger, The Passing gains from another comparison since the writing and direction here are much superior to that in The Ones Below, a current release also dealing with mysterious tensions among a small number of characters.

Indeed, it is fair to describe The Passing as a work of promise even if the plot developments don’t wholly satisfy. Even early on there is a certain conflict between the unease suggested and the notion that Sara should see this place as an ideal spot for her and Iwan to settle down. It would be wrong to give away too much about the film’s second half, but Iwan’s extreme reactions to Sara becoming friendly with the much older Stanley fail to convince. However, certain things that we see could be imagined by Sara since, although uninjured, the accident in which their car plunged into a river, has awakened in Sara fears of drowning. But ultimately The Passing goes beyond psychodrama with a twist in its plot into another sphere altogether.

Overall, I felt that some parts of this film worked better than others, but it is an interesting debut not lacking in local colour. The latter is evidenced by the music, including an ancient congregational piece, Canu Pwnc, heard on a 78 r.p.m. recording.

 

MANSEL STIMPSON       

  

Cast: Mark Lewis-Jones, Annes Elwy, Dyfan Dwyfor, Benjamin Moruzzi.

  

Dir Gareth Bryn, Pro Kate Crowther and Ed Talfan, Screenplay Ed Talfan, from a story by Peter Watkins-Hughes and himself, Ph Richard Stoddard, Pro Des Tim Dickel, Ed Sara Jones, Music Jeremy Holland-Smith, Costumes Sian Jenkins.

 

S4C/Film Cymru Wales/A Severn Screen production/Boom Cymru etc.-Miracle Communications.
89 mins. UK. 2015. Rel: 8 April 2016. Cert. 15.