Italian-born UK-based director Laura Spini’s debut film You Are Whole has just been released online after screening at a wide range of film festivals from Edinburgh to Palm Springs. It is a 16 minute well-formed, visually interesting and beautifully filmed story with a great cast.
American actor Fred Melamed, (Sy Ableman in the Coen Brother’s A Serious Man) is Norman Pugg. Spini apparently wrote the script with Melamed in mind. Using his dulcet tones and convincingly polite manner, Pugg has a list of prospective clients to visit – elderly women intriguingly named Mrs Droogkloot, Mrs Stoneshell and Mrs Catberg – all living in the same small English seaside town. He is an astral-evangelist trying to gently flog his book: Children of the Mountain of the Star, “a Swiss-army knife of the soul”. Pugg, with his large oscilloscope, gently ambles around, seemingly undetected in the quiet village, and unaware of a murderer he appears to be following, finally ending up as the naïve suspect. With an aesthetic similar to that captured in Martin Parr’s photographs of England (www.martinparr.com), Spini has created an intriguing dark comedy.
A recent graduate of the London Film School, Spini is a writer-director-producer and editor. For more information, have a look at her site: www.lauraspini.com
Looking for other films about travelling evangelists? Check out these two:
Elmer Gantry (1960) is director Richard Brooks’ contribution, nominated for an Oscar in 1961 and featuring Burt Lancaster in the role of Gantry, a possibly saved salesman. Mixing bible verses with hard-sell, the dubious but brilliant pitch is ‘Christ in Commerce’.
The fourth feature from French director Michel Leclerc is La vie très privée de Monsieur Sim (2015) (The very private life of Mr Sim) about a lonely hobby-less man, whose wife has just left, taking their daughter with her. Sim finds a job as a travelling tooth brush salesman, moving from his empty suburban house to his company car. As he tries to revolutionise French dental health, he makes the most of the long drives to visit people and places from his past, revolutionising his own life as he goes.
We hope you're enjoying BRWC. You should check us out on our social channels, subscribe to our newsletter, and tell your friends. BRWC is short for battleroyalewithcheese.