St Piran’s Day seems the obvious time to celebrate Cornish filmmaker and BAFTA winner Mark Jenkin (as if anyone needs an excuse). And for a special treat, that celebration comes as the BFI has made two of the director’s ‘classic’ black and white, handcrafted, independent Cornish films – Bait and Bronco’s House – available to stream again on BFI Player’s Subscription service.
Bait and its precursor Bronco’s House, both truly independent, handmade movies, also both widely heralded by key critics, are now available again on the BFI’s video on demand service which streams contemporary, classic and cult films.
The two films are shot on a ‘clockwork camera’, on 16mm black & white negative stock, and processed by hand using an instant coffee based developer.
In Bait, modern-day Cornish fisherman Martin (Edward Rowe aka Kernow King) is struggling to buy a boat while coping with family rivalry and the influx of London money, Airbnb and stag parties to his harbour village. The summer season brings simmering tensions between the locals and newcomers to boiling point, with tragic consequences.
Stunningly shot on a vintage 16mm camera using monochrome Kodak stock, Bait is a timely and funny, yet poignant, film that gets to the heart of a Cornish community facing up to unwelcome change.
In the 44-minute featurette, Bronco’s House, a young man strives to fulfil his sense of responsibility: the provision of a home for him, his pregnant girlfriend and their unborn child within their own community.
With a growing sense of urgency as the housing crisis deepens over the term of the pregnancy, the story unfolds through the actions of six characters; Bronco, the Girlfriend, the Landlord, the Sister, the Farmer and… the Stranger.
Shot on a clockwork camera, on 16mm black & white negative stock, and processed by hand using an instant coffee based developer, Bronco’s House was Mark Jenkin’s first long-form exploration working within his self-penned manifesto SLDG13. Bronco’s House premiered as an Official Selection at the 23rd Raindance Film Festival 2015 and was an Official Selection at the London Short Film Festival 2016.
Mark Jenkin is about to shoot his new Cornish-based feature film, Enys Men, an ecosophical horror film, produced by Denzil Monk of BOSENA and co-financed by Film4, the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site, the Sound/Image Cinema Lab at Falmouth University and JFMC.
Deep and pertinent issues
Mark Jenkin told D&CFilm: “As a Cornish native, Bait and Bronco’s House both explore deep and pertinent issues that are very close to myself and to the hearts and minds of many within our close-knit Cornish community.
“Having both films available to watch on BFI Player allows us to take the deep-seated local issues of property prices, eroding communities and time-worn industries out to national audiences, lifting the lid on what are often ‘covered-up’, everyday challenges in Cornwall which is only known to most as the most idyllic holiday destination.”
Adventurous swirl of pure cinema
Of Bronco’s House, renowned film critic Mark Kermode said, “It’s really impressive, tackling Cornish history and homelessness in a visually stunning and formally adventurous swirl of pure cinema. Shades of Roeg, Maddin and Loach, but Bronco’s House couldn’t have been made by anyone other than Mark Jenkin… The perfect companion piece to what was, in my opinion, the defining British film of the decade.”
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