MQFF: ‘Anchor and Hope’ Film Review

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Words by Sammy Perryman

 

In a small but comfortable boat, loving partners Eva and Kat live carefree through the canals of London. Kat enjoys the quaint, un-conformist lifestyle the two have created for themselves, but she feels that is threatened when Eva decides she wants a child. When Kat’s best friend Roger visits from Barcelona, the three drunkenly toy with the idea of creating a child together. With Roger now on-board, Kat feels she has no choice but to say yes, and thus the bumpy journey to start a family begins.

 

Anchor and Hope stars Oona Chaplin (Taboo & Game of Thrones) as Eva, Natalia Tena (Game of Thrones & Harry Potter) as Kat and David Verdaguer (10.000KM) as Roger. The casting could not be more perfect, the performances given by these three are truly memorable. These characters fit perfectly into the London canal setting of the film, which in itself is serene. While it is sometimes juxtaposed with harsh industrial imagery, the serenity of Kat and Eva’s boat life is a strong theme of the film, often sitting in silence but slowly changing and becoming louder as their attempt at starting a family becomes serious (the sound design in this film is genius). At the risk of sounding cliché, so much is often said through the absence of dialogue. The importance of silence is made abundantly clear in the opening shot, which is an extremely slow crawling shot through a canal tunnel, an unconventional opening that feels completely natural in a film like this.

 

Anchor and Hope is directed by Carlos Marqueas-Marcet, an accomplished L.A based director, writer and editor known best for his directorial debut 10.000KM. A lot of the cast and crew for Anchor and Hope is returning from 10.000KM in what Marqueas-Marcet has described as “gathering the family together again.” The bond and passion everyone involved in this films shares comes through in the end product; this film was made with love.

 

Everything in this film feels completely natural, from the clever and subtle editing, to the understated but essential soundscape, to the intricate character dynamics that continue to deepen even in the final scenes of the film. At times it feels so natural it is almost uncomfortable, as if you are intruding into the private canal boat life of these three beautiful people.

 

All in all, this film is the epitome of an understated, indie darling. Carlos Marqueas-Marcet has created a story that feels so natural and, in its critique of what defines a ‘normal’ family, inherently queer. Ultimately it explores what makes a family and what defines love and togetherness, but this is an exploration that will leave you with a nice, warm feeling inside.

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