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88 min. English.

The picture-postcard idyll of the Cornwall fishing village is misleading. While fishing used to be a way of supporting oneself, wealthy London tourists have now descended and are displacing the locals, whose livelihood is thus threatened. The relationship between brothers Steven and Martin is also strained. Martin is a fisherman without a boat, since Steven started using it for far more lucrative tours for all the day-trippers. They’ve sold the family cottage and now it seems that the final battle to be fought is that with the new owners over the parking space next to the sea. Yet the situation soon gets out of hand, and not just because of the wheel clamp.
Bait is a black-and-white film shot on hand-processed 16mm. Numerous close-ups of fish, nets, lobsters, wellington boots, knots and catch baskets bring to mind the theory of a montage of attractions. The depiction of the different social strata – one could speak of class relations – is also reminiscent of the tradition of social realism in British cinema. Above all, however, a whole lot of current political relevance is waiting to be discovered beneath the different layers of film historical references contained in the images. (Anna Hoffmann)

Mark Jenkin was born in 1976. He grew up in Cornwall (United Kingdom), where he still lives today. He attended Bournemouth University from 1995 to 1998. Since 1997, he has made more than fifty short films. Besides his activities as a filmmaker, Jenkins is an associate lecturer at Falmouth University in Cornwall, where he lectures in film. In 2012, he wrote the Silent Landscape Dancing Grain 13 Film Manifesto, which comprises thirteen rules that he follows when making his own films.

Tourism and a changing fishing community

I have always wanted to make a film about the fishing industry. 16mm, black-and-white, dirty, full of grain, faces, working hands, the rough edges, warts and all, wild, tangible, real. In this part of the world the fishing goes hand in hand with the tourist trade. They have co-existed for generations, as unlikely bedfellows, co-dependents. But in a contemporary context of austerity and uncertainty the story has quickly become one of haves and have nots. Not a black and white story, but one pulsing away within the grey areas. Just below the surface of the sleepy Atlantic curling to sleep in the ‘quaint’ harbour. Beware: a dangerously high tide will often follow extreme low water. This is a place where tourism is seen as positive and second-home ownership as problematic, but the two are never lumped together, never considered part of the same thing. A place where the fishermen have no voice while the incomers shout to be noticed in their new community, where the old ways and the new ways collide. But where everybody is ultimately being manipulated, everyone is being sold a lie, where most people’s intentions are good but everyone is convinced that they need a bit of what someone else has, whether it be money, respect, control, a sense of belonging, peace, a future. Even in an ancient Cornish coastal village time must move on. Traditional approaches are being replaced with modern expectations. Change is inevitable, unstoppable, even welcome. But as the promise of a new bright future is being ushered in, who is thinking about what is being lost, forgotten, and will ultimately be yearned for? This is where my form and content meet. (Mark Jenkin)

Production Kate Byers, Linn Waite. Production company Early Day Films (Bristol, United Kingdom). Written and directed by Mark Jenkin. Cinematography Mark Jenkin. Editing Mark Jenkin. Music Mark Jenkin. Sound design Daniel Thompson. Production design Mae Voogd. Costumes Mae Voogd. With Edward Rowe (Martin Ward), Simon Sheperd (Tim Leigh), Mary Woodvine (Sandra Leigh), Giles King (Steven Ward), Isaac Woodvine (Neil Ward), Chloe Endean (Wenna Kowalski), Jowan Jacobs (Hugo Leigh), Georgia Ellery (Katie Leigh), Stacey Guthrie (Liz Stewart), Tristan Sturrock (Brian Rikard), Janet Thirlaway (Mrs. Peters), Morgan Val Baker (Husband), Billy Ward (Martin Ellis).

World sales The Festival Agency
Premiere February 09, 2019, Forum


selection: 2001: Golden Burn (69 min.). 2007: The Midnight Drives (95 min.). 2011: Happy Christmas (109 min.). 2016: A Forest (82 min.). 2019: Bait.

Photo: © Early Day Films Limited

Funded by:

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