Kelly + Victor
A haunting, candid depiction of a young couple embarking on a passionate and transgressive love affair, adapted from the novel by Niall Griffiths.
Even if a screening is sold out, tickets are often available 30 minutes before the start of the film at the box office at each venue.
Kelly (Antonia Campbell-Hughes) meets Victor (Julian Morris) while they are both loved up on the dance floor of a Liverpool nightclub. They are soon in her bed, fucking with an urgent intensity that neither has experienced before. These are two characters struggling to get by as best they can while the people around them are choosing illegal lifestyles; her best mate is a dominatrix prostitute, his pals are aspiring drug dealers. It’s when they get into bed with each other that their darker instincts take over. Kieran Evans (Finisterre; Vashti Bunyan: From Here to Before) adapts the acclaimed novel by Niall Griffiths for his first fiction feature. With a strong sense of location and an astutely chosen soundtrack, Kelly + Victor is a haunting, candid depiction of a young couple embarking on a passionate and transgressive love affair. The two leads deliver superb, committed performances that do a great deal to enhance their status as rising stars.
In cinema, I’m always drawn to films with flawed characters, occupied with people who make mistakes. I’m fascinated by the risks they take and the choices that may set them down an unfamiliar path. Niall Griffiths’ Kelly + Victor inverted the idea of ‘the love story’, exploring the opposite sides of a relationship in two parts. It was an exciting way of detailing a romance, if romance is the right word for it. The intensity of the relationship he described – the passion and the extremes that these characters put each other through – was utterly mesmerising. It was such a bold piece of writing, infused with characters who were on the edge of society, people with flaws who didn’t abide by all the rules – trying to find themselves and their way through life. I wasn’t only drawn to the characters’ story but to the way that Niall had constructed it. Split into two halves, the novel reveals in turn the inner life of both characters and the effect that each has on the other. The challenge then was how to capture onscreen the story of the events that happen to Kelly and Victor, and the emotional journey that each one goes through in their minds. In this story, two worlds collide. Perhaps at the wrong time or the wrong speed, but in meeting each other they are compelled to follow an untrodden path. When I was looking for a subject for my first feature film, it wasn’t just about finding a story that was right, but also about what could challenge me as a filmmaker, and I found that when I read Kelly + Victor.
He has been directing shorts, documentaries, commercials and music videos for around twenty years since leaving art school and gaining initial experience with Steven Spielberg’s animation company. He co-directed (with friend Paul Kelly) the Saint-Etienne-scored feature documentary Finisterre, and saw his narrative short Reflection gain the advocacy of no less a figure than Abbas Kiarostami. The culmination of his lengthy track-list of music-vid collaborations with a host of innovative artists was his ‘achingly intimate’ feature portrait of Vashti Bunyan, From Here to Before, which lit up the 2008 LFF. His adaptation of Niall Griffiths’ celebrated novel Kelly + Victor is his fiction-feature debut.
2003 Finisterre [doc; co-d]
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