Affairs Of The Art

****

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Affairs Of The Art
"The film is a love letter to the sort of women too often squeezed out of cinema." | Photo: © NFB and Beryl Productions International

It’s said that one of the tasks of an artist is to reveal the truth of things, and Beryl (Menna Trussler) is more passionately devoted to the truth than most people can cope with. This is not her first outing in the work of artist/director Joanna Quinn, and it seems unlikely to be the last, but it bears the distinction of having been nominated for an Oscar, which would surely bowl over this working class Welsh woman despite the litany of peculiar goings-on which she manages to take in her stride.

Robust, middle aged and not easily squeezed into a wonderbra, Beryl is a tangle of scraggly lines and splashes of pain, each lovingly hand-drawn frame resembling the work which she herself creates as she orders her ageing husband to pose nude on the staircase and tries to capture the energy of accidents in motion. Her home is littered with the debris of her art, but that’s nothing to what gets left behind by some of her relatives, whose lives, both ongoing and abruptly ended, she gossips about in her eager monologue, keen to leave no unfortunate detail undistributed. From peculiar pickles to the use of taxidermy in an effort to preserve beloved pets (some of whom may have met their end prematurely), she lays out her family’s quirks and calamities for all to see.

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Swansea-born actress Menna Trussler delivers great vocal work as the verbose and unbowed heroine, who may raise her eyebrows at what her husband watches on YouTube, but never doubts her own place in the world. The film is a love letter to the sort of women too often squeezed out of cinema, and though parts of it may make you feel a little queasy, it’s a joy to watch.

Reviewed on: 27 Mar 2022
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A family is obsessed with everything from drawing to taxidermy.

Director: Joanna Quinn

Writer: Les Mills

Starring: Menna Trussler, Brendan Charleson, Joanna Quinn, Mali Ann Rees

Year: 2021

Runtime: 16 minutes

Country: UK

Festivals:

EIFF 2021

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