28.07.2013. Art & Culture
In April 2012, a crew working, in producer Charlie Kemball’s words, “driven by passion, on a shoestring budget”, headed to Positano to shoot a 12-minute short entitled Spring Summer, the film debut of talented young British photographer John Lindquist.
Starring Belgian model and actress Delfine Bafort, last seen on screen in Vincent Gallo’s elusive 2010 feature Promises Written on Water, the film revolves around Bafort’s character Caroline, a thirty-something fashion model. In the course of an unplanned break from work on the Amalfi Coast, she comes into contact with a younger colleague, Charlotte – played by 22-year-old US model Ashley Smith – who possesses all the glow and confidence of the hot new fashion-world discovery. The encounter causes Caroline to re-evaluate her priorities, and to confront the challenges of ageing and the passing of time.
In addition to securing the services of the two busy and talented actress/models, Lindquist and Kemball managed to assemble a top-flight technical crew, all of whom were working for scale. They include Catalan cinematographer Ferran Paredes Rubio, a rising star on the European arthouse scene (his most recent DoP gig, Italian film Zoran, My Nephew the Idiot, was recently selected for the Critics’ Week sidebar at the Venice Film Festival), and editor Pani Ahmadi Moore, whose feature film collaborations include Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and Tamara Drewe. The film was co-produced by Barbara Bruni, Silvia Ricciardi and Manila Mazzarini of Italian production company Josei. Antonio and Carla Sersale of the Sirenuse hotel, where much of the film was to be set, generously agreed to act as executive producers.
There was just one problem. Cast and crew had freed up one week for the Positano shoot – and it turned out to be one of those rare spring weeks on the Amalfi Coast when there was little or no respite from the rain. “It was a real headache”, Kemball recalls. “We were desperate, because the script as originally conceived was mostly set outdoors”. The script was hastily rewritten to reflect the unexpected weather – and as a result, Kemball says, the finished film took on a “darker, more melancholy tone”.
It turned out to be one of those lucky setbacks. The rain chimes perfectly with the pensive, dreamlike atmosphere of a film which is about a woman in limbo, caught between youthful vanity and mature reflection, between inner doubts and external work demands, just like the coastline that, cloaked in clouds and softened by rain, loses its hard edges and seems suspended between sea and sky. The final scene was shot on a day when huge waves were breaking against the quay, enveloping Caroline in plumes of sea-spray. It wasn’t planned that way – but it makes for a perfect ending, which is also, in a way, a new beginning.
Spring Summer debuts on global culture platform Nowness on Sunday 28 July, as part of their ‘Shorts on Sunday’ film series.