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Enys Men [DVD + Blu-ray]

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She examines the flowers and logs notes in a journal: the temperature that day and the repeated observation ‘No Change’, but soon enough there will be something to report on. The result is a vibrant look with strong primary colours, the blue of the sea and the red of the Volunteer’s jacket and that of the generator. For items that are dispatched using our standard service, we ask that you wait 14 days from the date of dispatch before reporting any items as undelivered. Strickland is a good choice for this discussion, as his own films have used sound in striking ways: it’s almost the entire subject matter of Berberian Sound Studio, for example.

It doesn’t grip as Bait did either, but enigmas thread through it, incomplete codes which can’t be fully cracked. Bait hit the hot topics of gentrification and second-homes, property imperialism which cost its fisherman protagonist his home and boat, finding an unsuspected, ready audience as Jenkin toured it to cinemas all around these isles, but particularly Cornwall. Jenkin also personally processed the film, and occasional imperfections, such as scratches and spots and instances of light bleed, became part of the hand-made aesthetic. The pace here is slow and dialogue is minimal – with much of it coming via her limited interactions on a battered VHF metal maritime radio. A wildlife volunteer's (Mary Woodvine) daily observations of a rare flower take a dark turn into the strange and metaphysical, forcing both her and viewers to question what is real and what is nightmare.Those similarities are considerable – after just these two features, it’s hard to mistake Jenkin’s work for anyone else’s – but they do end.

At the start of this commentary track, Mark Kermode lays his cards on the table: Bait was his favourite film of its year and Enys Men is a masterpiece (which he has watched several times now) and will no doubt be one of his favourites of this year.

Pace is measured, even for a not-especially-long film as this, and to my mind after two viewings it is over-extended. From visionary filmmaker Mark Jenkin, the Bafta award-winning director of Bait, Enys Men is a mind-bending Cornish folk horror set in 1973 that unfolds on an uninhabited island off the Cornish coast. It’s an arthouse, avant-garde Cornish myth, a bleeding-red jigsaw falling into place further with each viewing. Filmed on location around the disused tin mines of West Penwith, it is also an enigmatic ode to Cornwall's rich traditions of folklore and the region's rugged natural beauty. Bonus features include a commentary by Jenkin and critic Mark Kermode; an interview with the director and his lead Mary Woodvine, hosted by Kermode; a lengthy discussion on film sound between Jenkin and Berberian Sound Studio's Peter Strickland; the director's audio diaries; "Haunters of the Deep" (61 minutes), a Children's Film Foundation classic that was clearly an influence on Jenkin's work; and a Cornish travelogue short from the BFI archives.

Everything feels heightened, and very much like there is a psychological field in and around the island adding to the tension. Recently we’ve had films like The Witch, Hagazussa, and In The Earth that have expanded the genre, and now Enys Men, directed by Mark Jenkin, who made the acclaimed film Bait. The BFI have released several Children’s Film Foundation short features, and short shorts as well, on DVD, including so far four Bumper Box sets ( volumes 3 and 4 reviewed by me for this site). The BFI’s booklet, available with the first pressing of this release only, runs to thirty-two pages.The Shining is also possibly referenced as well as the subgenre of body horror – although this element is never as nightmarish as some of the grotesquery glimpsed in David Cronenberg’s more extreme productions. The BFI's Dual Format Edition Blu-ray/DVD and the simultaneous exclusive streaming release on BFI Player, are both available from 8 May 2023.

The two pipers who had led the girls astray were also petrified, a little further away But what, young Jenkin asked himself, what if the stones were actually alive? That’s the poster tagline for Performance, another film of identity breakdown, co-directed by Donald Cammell and Jenkin’s avowed influence Nicolas Roeg.People – a man, a young woman, some girls singing (the Cornish-language song “Kan Me”, which is also performed by its composer, Gwenno, during the end credits) – appear without warning.

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