"And now over to something completely different." It's not the first time I've started a movie review with the well-known Monty Python quote, but I should have possibly saved it to British Mark Jenkins Bait. For this is definitely a feature film out of the ordinary.
However, the action itself is conventional enough. Bait takes place in a small fishing village in Cornwall, where the coexistence between locals and tourists is not harmoniously pronounced. "He's so snobbish that at first I thought he spoke German," says the young girl who works at the local pub about one of the holidaymakers.
The film's most central character is the fisherman Martin, who strives to save money to acquire a new fishing boat (not least because the lack of a boat makes the most lucrative catch difficult), while the brother uses their boat to take tourists on sightseeing.
The brothers have had to sell the childhood home to a family from London who uses it as a cottage, and who has furnished it with "authentic" maritime ornaments which in Martin's eyes make it reminiscent of a sex cellar. His son is being trained in the fishing industry, but at the same time is being attracted to an aging holiday girl – and with that, the conflict will gradually escalate.
Old fashioned process
Bait is primarily different because of its deliberately distorted aesthetics and unorthodox use of the film language's tools. The film is shot in grainy 16-inch black and white film with a retractable 70s Bolex camera, and Jenkin has himself developed the film with a method that makes it appear as a collection of worn and scratched archive rolls.
The dialogue sound is obviously recorded afterwards, as was done in Italian films in the 60s and 70s, and the scenes often lack background sounds that would realistically be heard – for example, buzzing talk from other guests. . .