SHERDOG MOVIE CLUB: Week 220 - Bait (2019)

Discussion in 'Mayberry Lounge' started by europe1, Jul 29, 2020.

  1. europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

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    NOTE to NON-MEMBERS: Interested in joining the SHERDOG MOVIE CLUB? Shoot me a PM for more info!

    Here's a quick list of all movies watched by the SMC. Or if you prefer, here's a more detailed examination.

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    Our Director

    Mark Jenkin

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    Our Star
    Edward Rowe
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    Film Overview

    Premise: Martin is a fisherman without a boat, his brother Steven having re-purposed it as a tourist tripper. With their childhood home now a get-away for London money, Martin is displaced to the estate above the harbour.


    Budget:
    Independent!

    Box Office: ???



    Trivia
    (courtesy of IMDB)

    Since the film was shot on a wind up bolex, sound couldn't be recorded on set. All the dialogue was then dubbed in post

    Director Mark Jenkin processed the 130 rolls of Kodak 16mm B&W film 16mm film himself in his studio.

    Much of the film was shot in the Admiral Benbow, Penzance. This pub, opened in 1959, houses thousands of artefacts salvaged from ships wrecked of the Cornish coast and the Isles of Scilly.

    Members: @europe1 @MusterX @Scott Parker 27 @HTTR21 @Bullitt68 @Yotsuya @jei @HARRISON_3 @Bubzeh @the ambush @SalvadorAllende @moreorless87 @HenryFlower @Zer
     
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  2. HenryFlower (sheesh!)

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  3. Bullitt68 Senior Moderator Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    Is it just me or do seven days go by a lot faster when you're a member of this club? I still need to get around to Blue is the Warmest Color and then I'll be in here to talk about Bait before the week is out. Don't worry, @moreorless87 and @HenryFlower, I'm not going to leave you guys hanging. I'm just trying to whip up two essays on Otto Preminger before I resign myself to months of lectures and paper grading :confused::D
     
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  4. HenryFlower (sheesh!)

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    no worries ofc. i myself am like super duper behind by at least a month (something in which i was dutifully chided for by our almighty SMC overlord, @europe1 .) hell i even set aside an evening to watch a 3hr long movie last week, expecting to pop Blue is the Warmest Color into my player, but instead pivoted last second by renting The Painted Bird (which kinda fucking sucked) & haven’t had enough free time since. for that i also owe @moreorless87 an apology, because i do intend on watching BitWC.

    so yeah, please, take your time. maybe even skip Bait.
     
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  5. Rimbaud82 Black Belt

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    Of course saw it opening week when it was first released in the cinema. I can paste my Letterboxd review - will have a look through the thread later.

    "A brilliant, hypnotically strange and fascinating film. Plot wise it tackles (see what I did there) tensions between local residents and hordes of tourists in a Cornish fishing village. Obviously this is within the context of the decline of traditional fishing industries and the gentrification and 'Air BnB-ification' of Cornwall.

    Instead of the proud fishing culture that existed in the past, our main character Martin is forced to scrape by selling a few fish at a time in an attempt to save up and buy his own boat. Meanwhile his own brother makes money taking drunken stag dos on boozy trips round the coast. We quickly learn that pride and tradition is something crucial in this film, pitted against the harsh realities of modern Cornwall and the erosion of that culture. At one point a rich Londoner tells Martin he didn't have to sell them the house (his families fishing cottage, now done up as an Air BnB complete with fishing nets, cabin holes and other fishing paraphernalia), to which Martin tellingly responds "Didnt we?".

    These tensions create the drama of the film. There is an indignant feeling towards these wealthy tourists, and a sense of loss for the decline of the traditional industries, but it avoids sentimentality or caricature.

    Its all interesting from a thematic standpoint; but it is also true that some of the storylines in the village play out more like those from a soap opera.However, if the plot is at times suggestive of melodrama the style is anything but. This is where the real brilliance and originality of the film lies. Its very experimental. Shot in black and white with a vintage Bolex camera on 16mm it has a very vintage look to it, complete with crackles and imperfections on the film itself. Until the modern cars come in to focus we could intially be watching the start of some pre-war BBC documentary on the Cornish fishing industry. This struck me as a perfect stylistic contrast between the past and present.

    As well as this the techniques the film are, as I said very experimental and add a lot to the strangeness of the film. Originally it was shot silently with voice over and sound added later. Visually it does seem like an old silent film at points. This gives the film a strange, surreal quality. Many elements seem to be lifted from film history. A perfect match of style and substance."
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2020
  6. Rimbaud82 Black Belt

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    Oh wait nvm I see I am early lol
     
  7. Rimbaud82 Black Belt

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    The Painted Bird sucks!? Damn will still give it a go but not good to see ya say that, was looking forward to it.
     
  8. moreorless87 Straba

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    Given the grovelling apologies for leaving me to work with "great bewbs" comments in my week I would say Bait and Blue almost felt like Masculine/Feminine takes on the same(generally rather ignored in "liberal" cinema these days IMHO) story, the effects of class on peoples lives. One about romance the other about work and two brothers, one shot in high def saturated colours the other in grainy monochrome. Reasonably local film for me I spose living in Gloucestershire and yes the same issues are certainly present around here, lots of villages have become full of second/holiday homes forcing out the locals and killing off all the faculties besides maybe a gasto pub.

    I'll get around to watching it again this week but from a few months ago I certainly enjoyed it. The style of the film especially I think does work with the story, you often get comments that a film is a smooth merger of two different styles but in this case I think actually the merger between modern kitchen sink realism and that kind of stilted early 20th century expressionism is deliberately rather uneasy reflecting the story of different social worlds merging.

    If I ever get back into selling photography again might try and exploit it with some roughed up old fishermen shots.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2020
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  9. HenryFlower (sheesh!)

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    i’m afraid so. i was annoyed i was watching it when i still had half of the runtime left, & that’s not a good feeling to have. a poor man’s Come and See in almost every way. i tried to stop making the constant comparisons to a legitimate masterpiece, which is admittedly unfair, but the director cribs Come and See so fucking hard that it becomes an inevitable associatation at every turn. will be curious to read your thoughts, so definitely give me a tag if you post about it here/i’ll keep my eyeballs peeled on letterboxd
     
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  10. SalvadorAllende Interim Belt

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    13 minutes in and I think this is so low budget that I'm positive I could record it in my shitty Samsung cell phone... more to follow...

    36 minutes in and we finally see some background on the characters.
    Really cool scene of the mixed dialogues at the bar.

    52 minutes in... oh geez
    upload_2020-8-1_12-4-19.png

    1h12: Oh.. the long awainted tragedy. Should have been that Hugo kid who was a giant cunt tho.

    1h24: The end? wait what?

    Final thoughts:
    I thought the film could have gone deeper in a few subjects that could have made this movie 1000x better:
    * The main character is a prick. But his financial and ethical struggle too keep his convictions is really interesting. Aside the can/box with the few bucks he can hardly save and his limited interactions with his brother about the orientation of their business (which he "wins" at the end) there is not much development into that.
    * When he is arguing about the parking with the other dude in the bar and he keeps calling him guy a tourist who only has been there for a few months. I would have wished the film explored that waaay more.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020
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  11. moreorless87 Straba

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    From sun drenched French romance to lo fi Cornish fishermen. ;)

    You do obviously get a lot of bad lofi hipsterism in film and photography but in this case I do think using an old wind up 16mm camera works well here. I would say its trying for a merger of early 20th century pathe style info films....



    ....but making it that bit more personally and grubby to reflect the story. Its the same with the dialog often being a bit off time and uncomfortable, was all recorded afterwards and deliberately not synched up perfectly.

    They lo finess does actually extend to more modern parts of the film as well, you can see that after scanning they've used digital layer masks to brighten parts of some shots but don't try and hide it so you see halos around the edges of characters.

    There is still I think obvious talent in terms of composition/editing in the film though and along with the above I'd say what it feels like most to be is Bresson, Cornishmen at Random.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020
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  12. SalvadorAllende Interim Belt

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    Just edited my first comment with my final thoughts.

    I don't know anything about filming, etc. Only what I see.
    I liked the concept of black&white, fixed camera (in most scenes), basically vintage stuff. I think it serves the purpose of the film pretty well althought it made me feel some sort of seasick (lol) at times.

    Dialogues are usually the thing I enjoy the most in movies/tv shows. Not the hollywood monologues crap that most people love (like Al Pacino Scent of a Woman).. but truly natural interactions between characters that make them look human and real.
    This film had almost not dialogues but yet it managed to paint (at least for me) a clear picture of the relationships between Martin and all the people in the village he comes across in this film. I just would have wished they went deeper on that.. but that might be just my personal taste.
     
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  13. HenryFlower (sheesh!)

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    i don’t think he’s a prick at all. he’s a fisherman w/ no boat (a nice bit of absurd humor) who saves up his money for a boat in a cookie tin like a child who saves his allowance for the candy store, but is constantly dipping into that tin to help others, despite his charity constantly setting him back on his goal. he’s a little rough around the edges, to be sure, but he has a good heart.
     
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  14. moreorless87 Straba

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    There is quite a lot of subtext to this that perhaps isn't easy to pickup for foreign viewers as it depends on knowledge of the UK and identifying characters by accent? The films set in a working class finishing town in the south west of England but its becoming touristy with the family who have bought Martin's old family house being upper/middle class and from the south east who are running it as a hotel/B&B.

    Its basically a story about gentrification, how the shift to tourism from a traditional fishing industry both loses the locals dignity and doesn't benefit most of them much as its outsiders with money to invest take most of the profits.

    Watching it again I do think it manages to build up a very effective atmosphere as it goes along, Edward Rowe(a comedian/youtuber from Cornwall) is great though out with a nice dry wit but the editing and soundtrack really do work very well in the second half cutting between the various plots. The old fisherman Martin talks to as a kind of spirit of tradition watching over events is a nice touch as well.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020
  15. SalvadorAllende Interim Belt

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    Oh yeah.. no doubt the film is about gentrification and the lost of identity. I loved the idea of it since I think it's something most people can relate to.
    I just thought they could have done a better work with it.
     
  16. Rimbaud82 Black Belt

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    What specifically do you feel would have been better work using that theme?
     
  17. moreorless87 Straba

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    With a lot of modern arthouse I do feel the same kind of thing, you have films that have a decent setup but are afraid to dig too deep into their drama, part of why I rate Blue from last week so highly as it was willing to do that. Here though I would say the film isn't really looking at realism, the characters are deliberately a bit thin and archetypical so keeping the story simple as well suits them well.
     
  18. SalvadorAllende Interim Belt

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    Maybe going a little bit deeper about the history of the village and their characters. There are a lot of things left hanging in there and I think it could have made a greater impact on me as a viewer if they did it.
     
  19. HenryFlower (sheesh!)

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    idk, i feel like Bait is a great example of a low budget film that makes the most of its limitations, while also doing so w/ style. it uses a simple story w/ archetypal characters to express frustration about a very real & culturally relevant issue in modern society. i feel like we don’t need an expositional deep dive to understand or care about the upper class/working class dichotomy that drives the film.
     
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  20. moreorless87 Straba

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    I mean its not a film devoid of character, Rowe does give Martin a lot of personality and indeed Giles King does give a really good underplayed performance at his brother but the point really is that these are somewhat archetypical characters. Maybe that makes it a bit harder to follow if your not so familiar with the situation but it does also make the film work very economically and makes it very applicable.

    I would say that the films morals aren't as black and white as they might appear either and as with Blue that's something I much preffer to watch rather than simply playing to the choir and/or lecturing. I mean Tim and Hugo on the face of it are a right couple of plums but Sandra is a good deal more sympathetic and the pub owner plus Martin's brother(arguably the real dramatic centre of the film and a excellent low key performance from Giles King) do highlight people just trying to make a living.

    You could argue as well the films also a bit of a reflection not just on the plight of the locals but also of the middle class characters, especially the men. The women come across as much more grounded and sure of themselves but Tim and Hugo are emasculated pretty ruthlessly by Martin and generally come across as very petty. A lot of the latters cuntishness comes across as failed attempts to gain the kind of masculine dignity the fishermen his sister is fucking have which you could argue Martin semi acknowledges this when rather than attacking him he gets him to repair the damaged lobster pot and thanks him.
     
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