Sunset Song (2015) is a Scots,English,French movie. Terence Davies has directed this movie. Ken Blackburn,Mark Bonnar,Stuart Bowman,Emily-Jane Boyle are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2015. Sunset Song (2015) is considered one of the best Drama movie in India and around the world.
Spanning the 1910 decade, six years in the life of a girl named Chris, one of the numerous children of a tyrannical Scottish farmer. Years of high hopes and of disillusionment, of mirth and sorrow, of dreaming and toiling, of sweetness and violence, of love and hate, of peace and war. And in the end, the dignified loneliness of a new Chris, a woman who seems to have gone through several lives, now and forever as one with the land, the earth eternal...
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Firelight, swells of the North Sea, hayfields, rain, a wedding dinner by candlelight, mist, the morning sun, green mountains, Scottish song, clothing fashions from a hundred years ago and the writing of Lewis Grassic Gibbon, are brought to life. It is said that nothing but the land endures, yet there is something about each of these characters – good and bad - that endures too. Intriguing characters include a sensual, pretty and bright young woman who loves the landscape and dreams of a better life, a strict and abusive farm family patriarch in desperate need of an intervention and anger management classes, and a young man turned bitter and cowardly by war and violence. The story is told mostly through the eyes of the young woman, Chris, as she grows and experiences hardships as well as bliss. It is amazing to witness her transformations through the people she comes in contact with, the land and the emotions she feels. Kindness, love, nature and light endure when we let them. Anger, violence and hatred make them the lovelier for that. The director is obviously extremely experienced and capable at such historic United Kingdom stories. He invigorates the senses in sight and sound, and we even almost feel the emotions of the characters and smell the hay, mist and mud. I suppose this is the "memory realism" style I read about. Remarkably, and appropriately to the themes of the story, Davies does not shy away from the rawness of anger, sex, nudity and violence. He is equally adept at bringing out the beauty of the story as well as its darkness. There is exemplary acting here especially by the leads, yet with the exception of the one who played Ewan (each of his moods seemed the same to me). For those few who can differentiate between the sectors of Scotland, the film takes place in Northeast Scotland. The excitement of another "Florida premiere" was palpable (LOL!) at this 2016 Miami International Film Festival screening.
I feel pity for those who have negatively reviewed this film from the point of where some of the scenic shots were or criticised the dialogue etc. I had heard the book read and the story acted on radio more than once in the past so much was familiar. I saw this in the Screen Machine (a mobile cinema which tours the Scottish Highlands and Islands). It was almost full with perhaps 75-80 there and I knew most of them so could judge their reactions and join in the conversation on the way out. For 2+ hours no-one moved - not even the handful of folk from the supposed area in Aberdeen-shire. Afterwards most felt like I did - emotionally drained. Sunset Song is not about the scenery, nor whether there were details that one or another felt weren't quite right. This was a reality check in the way in which poor country folk lived in the early part of the 20th century. It was about treating women as chattels and while I could have imagined or read about that, this was so graphic it was breathtaking. It wasn't Downton Abbey; it wasn't a Bond film but it was visually stunning and completely thought-provoking. I can't imagine anyone with a soul not being left with both a feeling of privilege to have seen it and humility that our own kin in the past lived this way. As for Agyness Deyn - amazing. Of course the accent wasn't flawless but it didn't matter. This was a brilliant and sensitive performance.
Terence Davies's new film treads familiar grounds despite his shift to the early 1900s Highlands. A violent father is brutally insensitive to his oldest son and daughter — and to his wife, who kills herself and her infant twins when she finds he has impregnated her again. The son weds and removes himself to Argentina but we follow the daughter, Chris, as she takes over the farm and matures into motherhood and womanhood. The mother's most poignant speech teaches Chris that women are helpless before men. By men the mother has in mind brutes like her husband, not gentle idealists like her oldest son. And like Ewan, the farm boy neighbour Chris weds and loves. The film's leisurely 135 minutes observes the passing of the days and seasons and vicissitudes of life working up to a crucial revelation at the end. Now a father, Ewan is pressured to enlist in the First World War. He comes down the stairs and announces he's off to Aberdeen the way her brother did when he broke away from home. But Ewan was reluctant to leave his wife and bairn. We don't see Ewan's battleground experiences but we see how they've changed him when he storms home for a short leave. Coarse, violent, angry, insulting — he has turned into an irreligious version of her happily departed father. Unlike her mother, though, Chris won't be cowed. The morning after he's raped her she holds him off with a knife: "I'm not afraid of you." He returns coldly to his unit. Chris continues to run the farm without him. She refuses to believe the government letter reporting he died in battle in France. Then his old comrade tells her she should know the truth: Ewan was shot as a coward and deserter. He's telling her because he wants her to get on with her young life. Then we get the film's only flashback. That friend is preparing Ewan to face the firing squad. The Ewan we see is the old Ewan, not the brutalized soldier who was so repulsive on his visit home. Finally believing he's dead, Chris realizes that "He did it for me." That line — and the intrusive flashback — takes some unpacking. Ewan couldn't stay out of the war for her, however he tried, as he was openly charged with cowardice. Nor could he prevent the war's brutalizing effect on him. So to save her from having to live with the brute he has become he has himself killed. As we view the firing squad from his perspective Davies implicates the citizenry in the savagery that launches and embraces warfare. Not sharing her mother's cynical experience of men, Chris remembers the Ewan she loved, the gentle, considerate man. So she infers that he had himself killed rather then impose on her what the war had made him. That's the song she sings to his sunset.
I went into the movie not knowing anything about the book, the model or what should have been the proper soldiers dress. I also don't know a good accent from a bad one when it comes to Scottish. I felt the movie was gorgeous but some scenes were dragged out too long, especially closer to the end. I felt the actress was believable and saw the characters personality was much like the film itself, slow moving and deliberate with few outbursts but when they happened they were believable. I didn't understand the husband. Why not slog through it rather than become an a-hole? but I guess he was determined. To me this was stupid and the wife should have been angry, then forgiving, rather than understanding. The story was a view into what it may have been like back then helping me to see real people in real tough situations but who also had God and nature to nurture them. It is the beauty of the film that has stuck with me. I didn't know Scotland was that gorgeous.
The father of former San Francisco Mayor Jack Shelley once told him, "The day you forget where you came from, you won't belong where you are." This advice is not lost on Chris Guthrie (Agyness Deyn, "Clash of the Titans"), a young woman coming of age in Terence Davies' ("The Deep Blue Sea") Sunset Song. Adapted from the 1932 novel of Lewis Grassic Gibbon and set in Scotland in the early 1900s, the film is more than a song of sunset, it is a symphony of the fields and lakes and distant mountains of Aberdeenshire and a young woman devoted to the land, harvesting the wheat, lying in the sun, wrapping herself in "the old star-eaten blanket of the sky." Talking of herself in voice-over, she says, "Nothing endured but the land. Sea, sky and the folk who lived there were but a breath. But the land endured she was the land." The gorgeous painterly views photographed by cinematographer Michael McDonough ("Winter's Bone"), however, does not conceal the isolation felt by those coming up against a system that ostracizes anyone standing against the town's social and religious conformity. Women especially are at a disadvantage. They have to endure sex without contraception, painful and often fatal childbirth, and marital beatings and rapes that are considered part of the marriage vow, "for better or worse." The film traces Chris' growth from an intelligent but passive student to an adult both willing and able to stand up for herself. At first she is seen in school where she is admired for her excellent French pronunciation. At home things are different, however. The Guthrie farm is run by the patriarch, John (Peter Mullan, "Tyrannosaur"), a sadistic bully who beats his son Will (Jack Greenlees) for minor infractions such as naming his horse "Jehovah," and forces his wife Jean (Daniela Nardini) into repeated pregnancies. Both Will and Jean find a way out in vastly different ways, but Chris, having given up any hopes of becoming a teacher, endures her brutal father until he is felled by a stroke. Fortunately, her paternal aunt Janet (Linda Duncan McLaughlin) and Uncle Tam (Ron Donachie, "Filth") arrive to take her younger brothers back to raise in Aberdeen but Chris carries on at Blawearie, running the farm herself. As Ma Joad said in "The Grapes of Wrath," "With a woman, it's all in one flow, like a stream - little eddies and waterfalls - but the river, it goes right on." Like the strong-willed Bathsheba of Hardy's "Far From the Madding Crowd," Chris never succumbs to her mother's cynicism about men, falling in love with and marrying a local farmer Ewan Tavendale (Kevin Guthrie). The scenes where the Ewan and Chris find happiness in marriage and childbirth are the most joyous of the film, especially when Chris sings "The Flowers of the Forest" at their wedding, but, there are signs that it cannot last. When World War I is declared, anyone who doesn't enlist is labeled a coward, accused of refusing to fight for God, King, and country. Succumbing to threats from Reverend Gibbon (Jack Bonnar), Ewan enlists but the war will change him forever and make him unrecognizable to those who are closest to him. Chris bears her fate in poetic terms, saying, "There are lovely things in the world, lovely, that do not endure, and they're lovelier for that," but her positive feelings soon turn to denial. Sunset Song is a beautiful film and a tribute to those who have the courage and patience to endure pain. Though there are many moments when we know that we are in the hands of a master but the film, in spite of its physical beauty and compelling message, never reaches the emotional depth necessary for a truly powerful experience and the haunting music of a bagpipe at the end only suggests the great film it might have been.