Sci Fi But Not As We Know It

Elspeth Hinde is part of the Programming Team. Her particular passion is sci fi and this is what she has to say about this year’s selection…

This year’s Bath Film Festival is filled to the brim with must-see movies. In amongst all of the star-packed sellouts, there are more hidden gems than even Blackbeard would have know what to do with!

I want to draw your attention to two of my favourites.

Coherence is an undoubted masterpiece of modern filmmaking. I understand that is a bold statement to make, but bear with me. Let’s start with the script. There wasn’t one. It was filmed over a series of consecutive nights in a house through which the actors were free to roam. Before each filming session they would be given a page or two of information about their character, motivations and history, but nothing about anyone else. The twists and turns of this thrilling feature are as unexpected to the actors as they are to the audience. As you might expect this creates a tension and freshness that cannot be beaten. Writer/director James Ward Byrkit spent a full year working out the details and science behind this project, ensuring that all clues and reveals could be worked in without spoiling the conclusion for anyone. “The goal was to get them listening to each other,” Byrkit revealed, “and engaged in the mystery of it all… It was uncontrolled mayhem.” The end result is a film that should be seen by anyone with an interest in filmmaking or storytelling or simply the unexpected.

And then there is Frequencies. I honestly don’t know where to start with this film without sounding as though I am overdoing it. This is one of those films that you will be thinking about and talking about for days, weeks and even months to come. As a member of the programming committee, I watched this back in June and I still have moments where I think “O, it’s like in Frequencies…”. This is an independent British-Australian film that uses the relationship between two people from contrasting backgrounds to examine universal uncertainties such as fate, free will and luck in an arena that is completely personable and relatable. There are philosophical ideas and hypotheticals for the thinker in you, paranoia for the thrill-seeker all set on an emotional foundation that will move you. Filmmaker Darren Paul Fisher came up with the concept for the film after a date with a girl who told him she “usually” won something in a raffle, it got him “thinking about people in our lives that are just lucky. I’m quite obsessed with the idea of luck. And that was the spark of that idea, how people can be in the same world but kind of in different universes.”

I really cannot say enough to praise either of these films, but perhaps my favourite thing about them is that they both fall on the same evening in the festival. On 20th November 2014 the Chapel Arts Centre will be screening both of these gems starting at 18.30 with Coherence and followed by Frequencies at 20.30.

They may be Sci Fi but not as you know it.