COMPETITION Mary Woodvine stars as a volunteer who records her daily observations. Isolated on an island with no inhabitants off the coast of Cornwall, we feel the weight of tragedy both in the landscape and in the past of the woman we accompany. Mark Jenkin builds a ghostly atmosphere that blurs the line between dream and reality.
Enys Men means rocky island in Cornish, the Celtic language spoken in the region of Cornwall. We do not know if it is indeed the name of the islet where the film takes place, but to tell the truth we do not know everything else: the name of this woman, the exact nature of her botanical research, the exact date where all this takes place. This deliberate absence of answers is counterbalanced by a hallucinated staging, halfway between the bucolic and the terror, capable of transforming the slightest walk by the sea and supernatural ritual, the slightest red garment into a specter of Nicolas Roeg, the lesser heap of pebbles in a Kubrickian monolith.
In his first film, the fascinating Bait (the winner of the Audience Award for Feature Film IndieLisboa 2019), British filmmaker Mark Jenkin already demonstrated incredible visual inventiveness: aged and artificially reworked images, raw poetic editing, meticulous soundscape with unexpected reliefs. We find it here in all its singularity, but it is no longer used as a counterpoint to a socially anchored story (tradition and modernity in a fishing port). In Enys Men, Jenkin casts off the moorings of reality even further, using and redistributing elements of folk horror with an infectious appetite. (Mickäel Gaspar)