Release Date: 18h November 2022
Directed by: Charlotte Wells
Cast: Paul Mescal, Frankie Corio
Written by: Charlotte Wells
Cinematography: Gregory Oke
``a fascinating piece of work``
Although Aftersun is a work of fiction, the first time writer/director Charlotte Wells has described it as “emotionally autobiographical”, and it’s clearly evident that this is a deeply personal piece of work. Set in the 1990s, Paul Mescal and Francesca Corio are Calum and Sophie, a young single father and his eleven-year-old daughter on holiday together at a budget resort in Turkey. And that’s about it.
Both Mescal and Corio are incredibly natural and easy going. Much time is spent trying to work out what the dynamic is between father and daughter. And the obvious assumption is that something bad is bound to happen. Will Calum fall short as a father? Why does he have so many books on self-help and meditation? Will Sophie’s looming adolescence become an issue with the older teens at the resort? But Wells’ movie does not resort to such obvious tropes. This is presented in a very unshowy and organic manner.
Aftersun is a fascinating piece of work. It’s a very personal document that will make viewers feel like eavesdroppers on a deeply private conversation. What becomes apparent as the film progresses is that we are witnessing the memories of the adult Sophie, who is looking back on what turned out to be a seminal moment in her life. One of the signifiers of the period setting is the use of video camera footage. obviously something that the adult Sophie holds dear and rewatches again and again.
It is a small movie, and nothing especially ground-breaking occurs. Wells allows the story to unfold at a very pure, unforced pace, with one small detail giving way to another small detail, and eventually when all those little details accumulate, you’re left with an intriguing window into a very personal relationship. It is only when the film has ended that the format of what has been presented becomes clear.