Dear Marianne


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Dear Marianne
"It is this conjuring of images beyond the frame of the film that is Jenkin's neatest trick." | Photo: Mark Jenkin

Director Mark Jenkin's short travelogue has been made according to the rules - laid down by himself - of the Silent Landscape Dancing Grain 13 manifesto. You can read the full list of constraints here but they include instructions that the film "must be shot on small gauge film", "be presented in black and white" and "break one of the manifesto's rules". In the case of Dear Marianne, the rule Jenkin apparently chose to break is the adherence to black and white, as the film stock here is Super 8 Kodachrome 40. Whether rules such as this are a hinderance or a help when it comes to encouraging creativity - and whether it is something of a cheat to set those rules yourself in the first place - is debatable but Jenkin is a dab hand at doing a lot with a little.

Marianne is the recipient of a series of postcards from a male Cornish relative who is travelling in Ireland. The words of the postcards are spoken in voice-over, with the constant tick of an old-fashioned clock in the background giving them a sense of rhythm and calling to mind the place, such as a guesthouse table, where the sender might have sat down to write. It is this conjuring of images beyond the frame of the film that is Jenkin's neatest trick.

The way in which the traveller, despite sightseeing, is constantly drawn to comparisons with landscapes and places he knows, builds a picture of nostalgia. It's an idea that marries well to the images on film stock that is itself heavily evocative of a time before digital pictures when photos, film and, perhaps, even our own less-prodded-by-physical-evidence memories, were more important.

Reviewed on: 08 Jan 2017
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A Cornishman sends postcards home from Ireland.

Director: Mark Jenkin

Year: 2016

Runtime: 6 minutes

Country: UK


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