Berlin Review: ‘Bait’ is a Punky, Poignant, and Profound Allegory About Fishing

For his debut feature, writer-director-cinematographer Mark Jenkin takes a parable about a contemporary fishing community under threat from wealthy outsiders and presents it in a style reminiscent of documentaries of the early 20th century, namely Robert J. Flaherty’s 1934 film Man of Aran. The result is titled Bait, a punky, pastoral little movie that draws from the mysticism and iconography of documentaries like Flaherty’s but with a narrative and ironic wit that is inescapably of the here and now. Put it this way: the director may have had those films in mind when he chose to shoot Bait on 16mm and have it processed by hand–for purposes of wear and tear–but perhaps less so when he wrote the scene in which a man on a stag party boards a boat dressed in a large penis costume. Continue reading

Bait review – one of the defining British films of the decade 

It’s war between the locals and tourists in a Cornish fishing village in Mark Jenkin’s dreamlike masterpiece

Cornish film-maker Mark Jenkin’s breakthrough feature is a thrillingly adventurous labour of love – a richly textured, rough-hewn gem in which form and content are perfectly combined. A refreshingly authentic tale of tensions between locals and tourists in a once-thriving fishing village, it’s an evocative portrait of familiar culture clashes in an area where traditional trades and lifestyles are under threat. Shot with clockwork cameras on grainy 16mm stock, which Jenkin hand-processed in his studio in Newlyn, Bait is both an impassioned paean to Cornwall’s proud past, and a bracingly tragicomic portrait of its troubled present and possible future. It’s a genuine modern masterpiece, which establishes Jenkin as one of the most arresting and intriguing British film-makers of his generation [ . . . ]

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