Sunday at SXSW sees the North American debut of "Black Pond," a very strange and very British dark comedy from two emerging filmmakers. Actor-writer Will Sharpe and commercials director Tom Kingsley, 25 and 26, are a few years out of Cambridge. Various British critics' groups nominated the film for awards, including BAFTA (outstanding British debut).
The duo made the film on a micro-budget ($39,000); in fact Shakespearean actor Sharpe ("Casualty") plays a key role in the movie, which is tough to describe. It's about the visit of a strange man to a bored and lonely married couple with a dog who live out in the country. He's strangely obsessed with the story of a woman who drowned in the lake. Chris Langham ("The Thick of It") is hilarious as the husband who invites the man to dinner; he stays the night and may have hastened the demise of their dog. At which point they call their two daughters from the city, who bring roommate Sharpe, to help to bury him. And then the strange man returns with a bizarre request indeed.
Suffice it to say there's a reason for all the fuss; these filmmakers are talented. Variety profiled them, calling the movie "an eccentric, visually lyrical comedy of repressed English middle-class mores." And WME signed them. They have already shot a short, "Cockroach." FILM 4 is developing their adaptation of "Candide, based on Voltaire.