A Woman In Winter

A Woman In Winter

DVD Rating: ***1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Read Angus Wolfe Murray's film review of A Woman In Winter

The highlight of the extras is the director’s commentary. Richard Jobson is a good talker, with no false modesty and an honest approach to telling it as he sees it. There is none of that self-conscious charm you find with people pleasers. Jobson may have a high opinion of himself, but he’s not a phony.

A Woman In Winter began as a short story and then developed into what might be a ghost story, or a mystery, or a romance – he’s not telling. He admits to admiring arthouse movies, as well as the influence of Resnais’ Last Year In Marienbad (1961) and Tarkovsky’s Solaris (1972).

Copy picture

Naturalistic dialogue is noticeable by its absence. Naturalistic anything goes against the grain. He’s interested in camera techniques, experimentation, “trying to make the ordinary extraordinary.” He likes voice-over narration, although the producers persuaded him to cut back on it. Pictures, not words, tell this story, if indeed you can find one.

“I am a difficult director to work with. I treat every frame like a photograph.”

His budget of half a million concentrated the mind. He avoided the cost of a casting director and did it himself (“I met Julie Gayet on the jury at a film festival and have always admired Jamie Sives from films like Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself. He’s Scotland’s answer to George Clooney”). He chose Edinburgh, his home town, although originally thought of filming in Paris in French, and selected the locations, which include The Cameo (“My favourite cinema in the world”), the Botanical Gardens, Fopp record store and The National Portrait Gallery (“A silent, beautiful place”).

He had three weeks to shoot (“The pressure was on on a regular basis”), which, in the scheme of things, is the blink of an eye. Also, Sives’ father died during the filming and Jobson’s father after it – a sad double tragedy.

The Making Of mini-doc is a disappointment. Everyone from the director, producer (Chris Atkins), DOP (Simon Dennis) and main actors talk about the project. There are platitudes a-plenty, but nothing of substance and Jobson repeats much of what he has already said in the commentary.

The Arab Strap music video uses stills, quick cuts and fireworks from the film. The song in monotonous, like tartan rap.

Reviewed on: 11 May 2007
Share this with others on...
A Woman In Winter packshot
Intense romance between a shy scientist and an ethereal French girl in Edinburgh.
Amazon link

Product Code: TVD303709

Region: 2

Ratio: 1:1.85 (17.9) Wide Screen

Sound: DTS Digital Surround Sound

Extras: Director's commentary; Making Of mini doc; music video

Search database: