Read on for information on the film:
‘Morvern Callar’ is the latest film from Lynne Ramsay, one of the industry’s strongest new voices of the past five years. The director of the shorts ‘Small Deaths’ and ‘Gasman’, (both of which won the Cannes Prix du Jury) and ‘Ratcatcher’ which on release was universally lauded as a highly accomplished debut film, she has defined herself as a idiosyncratic talent and drawn comparisons with luminaries such as Kieslowski and Tarkovsky for her intuitive direction and singular unpretentious style. An adaptation of Alan Warner’s novel of the same name, Morvern Callar is a story of a woman’s personal journey from a prosaic life on the remote Scottish coast, to self-abandonment on the costa del Clubland, and re-invention in the empty Spanish sierras. The rich and intriguing story, focused through the lead actress Samantha Morton’s absorbing portrait of the eponymous heroine, Lynne’s oblique perspective on the everyday and Warp’s complimentary soundtrack, becomes an intense sensory experience.
More than a soundtrack, this selection is integral to the film, actually playing a part in the story; the tape her boyfriend left her before committing suicide. And a very particular score is needed for an introspective film such as this, requiring an acute choice of tracks to map the emotionally driven plot and expose the interior tangle that guides Morvern through her odyssey.
Initially juxtaposing her unvarnished life as a shelf stacker with escapist reverie of Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra’s ‘Velvet Morning’ or the ironic inclusion of the Velvet Underground’s whimsical ‘I’m Sticking with You’ to also detail her trauma and subsequent flight (from reality), the tracks later elicit her sense of detachment and isolation amid the throng on an anaesthetized package holiday.
The selection gathers tracks from disparate genres without a willfully eclectic conceit, taking us gently from the dank vistas of West Scotland to the high contrast stuccos of Spain, divining a course between Ween’s uber-ironic ‘Japanese Cowboy’ and Holger Czukay’s shimmering organic futurism. Working in key with Ramsay’s subtle distortions of scale and mood the ‘Boards of Canada's bucolic elegance evokes the highland expanse, just as an intimacy is contrived by Aphex Twin’s digi-folk machinations on ‘Nannou’, nothing is extraneous to the film.
Ramsay is quoted to have said, "People think the club scene can be a real escape but they end up drifting. Morvern sees through that and wants something more." A sentiment echoed on the opening track, Can’s ‘I Want More’, a kraut pop paean to hedonism and self-abandonment, it succinctly encapsulates Morvern’s passion and ennui. Forget the text, go and enjoy.
Lynne Ramsay / UK & Canada / 2002 / 97 min
Samantha Morton, Kathleen McDermott, Raife Patrick Burchell, Carolyn Calder, Dan Cadan, Jim Wilson, Steven Cardwell, Bryan Dick, El Carrette, Andrew Flannigan.
Words by Nick. K