Screened as part of NZIFF 2015
Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay shared the acting honours at the Berlin Film Festival for their roles as a long-married couple suddenly prompted to wonder how well they know each other. Andrew Haigh’s sensitively measured portrait of a marriage finds a well-worn familiarity in their scenes together and draws from each actor their most delicately nuanced work in years.
Comfortably retired in Norfolk, Kate and Geoff are preparing for their 45th-anniversary party, when a letter arrives which raises a ghost from the past. It concerns Geoff’s first girlfriend, Katya, who died in a mountain accident when the two of them were holidaying 50 years ago.
Surprised by Geoff’s response, Kate becomes increasingly preoccupied by what she doesn’t know about that first affair, and how it shaped the man she married. All the while she tends to arrangements for the party in an atmosphere of high anticipation amongst their friends. Writer-director Andrew Haigh, whose Weekend cut deep in its account of a relationship that lasted a mere two days, proves equally astute and empathetic observing a life-long intimacy chaffing at its limitations.
“A wry, witty, wonderfully true-to- life drama notable not only for its superb performances but also for the subtlety of its script and direction. Also impressive for its expressive use of Norfolk’s landscape and weather, it comes across a little like late Bergman – but with rather more laughs. For me at least, it’s one of the finest British films of recent years.” — Geoff Andrew, BFI.com