Screened as part of NZIFF 2016
A long-cherished project for director Terence Davies, Sunset Song tells the story of a young woman coming of age on a farm in northern Scotland on the cusp of World War I. Like Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s 1932 novel on which it is based, the film is closely attuned to the moods of landscape and sky. If its lush visual poetry strikes a chord with New Zealand audiences it may be, at least in part, because some scenes were shot in Canterbury.
“Agyness Deyn’s soulful face tells the story of Sunset Song in an instant, as her expression tilts between vulnerability and determination… the film is set just before the First World War, and Deyn plays Chris Guthrie, a schoolgirl with a deep love of learning, a key to another life beyond her family’s farmhouse in Aberdeenshire. The phrase ‘model-turned-actress’ often has negative connotations, but not so for Agyness Deyn.” — Kate Muir, The Times
“It features an exceptionally strong central performance by Agyness Deyn as Chris, the bright daughter of a brutish farmer (Peter Mullan in top form)… With great exactitude, Davies traces how Chris’s bleak future as her father’s housekeeper is averted and where life takes her, imbuing the action with an unostentatious tenderness and eliciting uniformly lovely performances from the rest of his cast. As a study in hardship, brutalizing family life, and romantic loss, Sunset Song is a deeply felt return to territory with which the director is intimately familiar… Nothing short of sublime, Sunset Song ranks with The House of Mirth and The Long Day Closes among Davies’s finest achievements.” — Gavin Smith, Film Comment