Dinard puts focus on Carol Morley

British festival celebrates director’s talents with quartet of titles

by Richard Mowe

Kelly Macdonald and Monica Dolan in Carol Morley’s Typist, Artist, Pirate King
Kelly Macdonald and Monica Dolan in Carol Morley’s Typist, Artist, Pirate King Photo: Courtesy of Glasgow Film Festival
Following the special focus on The Souvenir director Joanna Hogg last time around, this year’s 34th edition of the Dinard Festival of British Cinema will explore the work of another highly individual female film-maker Carol Morley.

Besides some of her earlier titles Morley will present her latest film Typist Artist Pirate King, an affectionate imagining of the Sunderland-born artist, Audrey Amiss, whose career was hampered by mental illness. Until her death, aged 79, she continued to create and document original works of art, mostly drawn from her daily life.

Carol Morley is Dinard bound with four films
Carol Morley is Dinard bound with four films Photo: Paul Marc Mitchell
From this vast archival collection, Morley has created a snapshot tribute to Amiss (played by Monica Dolan), pasting scraps of artworks, diary entries and anecdotes into a fictionalised portrait of the artist as an older woman as she makes her way to her native North-east for one final exhibition. Much of the film rests on her quirky relationship with her carer (played by Kelly Macdonald). And the title? It’s how she liked to be self-described in her passport.

Other Morley films due for an airing at the Festival on Brittany’s Emerald Coast include Out Of Blue, an adaptation of the late Martin Amis’s 1997 novel Night Train, about a New Orleans police detective looking into the death of an astrophysicist which unleashes secrets from her past.

Audiences also will have the chance to catch up with The Falling (2014), a thriller set in an all-girls boarding school in the throes of a fainting epidemic; and the documentary-drama Dreams Of A Life from 2011, the true story of Joyce Carol Vincent, who in 2003 died in her flat at the age of 38, seemingly of natural causes.

Morley lists Jane Campion (The Piano, Bright Star) among her inspirations. She has worked repeatedly with an actress she describes as her “muse” Maxine Peake. For The Falling she teamed up with singer-songwriter Tracey Thorn (Everything But The Girl) and her perennial collaborator is also her long-term partner, producer Cairo Cannon.

The full line-up for the Dinard Festival, which runs from 27 September to 1 October, will be revealed on 31 August at a press conference in the holiday resort across the Rance estuary from St Malo.

Among the Festival’s idiosyncrasies is a statue of master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock which was erected to commemorate the 20th edition. The organisers assure there is apparently no evidence that Hitchcock visited the town or used one of the villas in Dinard during Psycho or The Birds as is often claimed.

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