Anchor And Hope: The BRWC Review

Anchor And Hope oona chaplin

Chorizo the cat has died and Eva’s mum Germaine (Geraldine Chaplin) has given it a spectacular burial. On their return to their houseboat, talk turns to Roger (David Verdaguer), a friend from Barcelona about to arrive in London. “If we let him stay one night, he’ll never leave”, says Eva (Oona Chaplin) to her girlfriend Kat (Natalia Tena). 

So begins an absorbing story full of questions regarding the creation of a baby: Is it possible to not conform to a typical plan when planning on having a baby? Or to live on a canal boat, not have traditional jobs, and have a live-in friend who donates his sperm? And when Eva’s plan does become a reality, the complications of exchanges like this: “You’re not the father” says Eva to Roger: “Yeah, but you needed me to make it real”. 

The premise is interesting and timely. The pragmatic and hardened Kat, offering cups of tea and ready to do almost anything but imagine herself as a mother, speaks the truth throughout the film and in a passionate retort to Germaine questions how ready people really are for non-conforming families: “I think you like the idea of rebellion but you always knew that you’d eventually conform. Two women can reproduce but only if we reproduce exactly what straight people have always been doing. Be a safe family unit and make money”.

Based on the 2015 book Maternidades Subversivas (Subversive Motherhood) by renowned Spanish feminist and activist Maria Llopis. Marques-Marcet and his co-screenwriter Jules Nurrish have transformed the book vividly and with just the right amount of humour, gravity and beauty. The star of the film are London’s canals, and cinematographer Dagmar Weaver-Madsen has created some really stunning scenes – from Eva emerging from the darkness of a bridge to the reflections in the water. The film is full of real and well-portrayed awkwardness, incorporating deep sadness as well as comedy thanks to Verdaguer’s Roger (Best Male Lead 2018 Gaudí Awards), brilliantly straight-faced, inept but loving. A co-production between Spain and the UK, the film was world-premiered at the most recent London Film Festival, and in November opened the Official Section of the 2017 Seville European Film Festival where it won Best Film.

Director, screenwriter, and editor Carlos Marques-Marcet (Barcelona, 1983) won the Goya Award from the Spanish Film Academy for Best New Director for his first feature film 10,000km (2014).  He went on to win the Special Jury Prize at South By Southwest Film Festival SXSW (2014) and five awards at the Spanish Malaga Film Festival

In 2015 he directed 13 Dies d’ Octubre, winner of the Gaudi Award for Best Film for Television in 2016.

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An Australian who has spent most of her adult life in Paris, Louise is a sometime photographer, documentary-maker, writer, researcher, day-dreamer and interviewer, who prefers to start the day at the local cinema’s 9am session.


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