Terence Davies’ long-awaited adaptation of classic Scottish novel Sunset Song: large, radiant and overwhelming
Terence Davies’ adaptation of Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s classic is so radiant that we hope the Liverpudlian filmmaker will get a crack at adapting the rest of the A Scots Quair trilogy. It’s a sweeping chronicle of land and emotion that could fairly be called Scotland’s answer to Gone with the Wind.
The heroine is Chris (Deyn), a village girl whose dreams of being a schoolteacher transform into bearing the burdens of family and farming. In the fictional estate of Kinraddie in the early 20th century, she comes of age to see the beginning of machine ploughing, the cruel discipline of her father (Mullan), the death of her mother, her own sexual awakening and the ravages of war.
Partly shot on 70mm, Sunset Song is rich and overwhelming. Deyn is a revelation, showing sensitivity and strength as a character who shoulders the weight of her own growing pains and the force of sometimes tragic historical change. This is a sorrowful and quietly angry film, as well as one of exquisite scope and humanity. [Ian Mantgani]