"Mothering Sunday" featured at Cannes Premiere section 2021

By Moira Jean Sullivan

Eva Husson has presented films twice at the Cannes Film Festival -- Girls of the Sun in the official selection in 2018 and Mothering Sunday included in the Cannes Premiere Section of the 74th Festival de Cannes in May. It is an extraordinarily well-crafted film with a provocative narrative structure, based on the novel by Graham Swift, recipient of the British Hawthorndon literary award.

The film begins with shots of three young boys; two are children of the Nivens and who died in World War I . The third child is Paul Sheringham, the only survivor and what remains of the Nivens' and Sheringhams' bond. The slow motion of a galloping horse sets the stage for the milestones in Jane Fairchild’s life that she feels set her on the path of becoming a writer, including being given a Paxton typewriter.

The pace of the film provides the opportunity to contemplate the sumptuous imagery. In discontinuous continuity the story telling enfold showing time in future past and present. Jane Fairchild (0dessa Young) is a young domestic for the Nivens' who meets with Paul Sheringham (Josh O'Connor) at his parents' home for an erotic afternoon. Their interludes have been going on since their teens and now Paul is engaged to be married to Emma Hobday (Emma D’Arcy). Husson takes her time to enfold the settings, the expanse of the home and its beautifully arranged flowers and decor, crisp linens and spacious kitchen. The meeting is lingering and intensive with the promise of what might have been their future had there not been pronounced class differences. Then Paul is off, late for a lunchon arranged on the fourth Sunday in Lent - 'Mothering Sunday'. He is to meet Mr and Mrs Niven (Olivia Colman, and Colin Firth) and his betrothed and her parents and Paul’s parents.

Husson shows us a mature Jane Fairshild working at a bookstore and the entry of a customer who will eventually become her husband Donald (Sope Dirisu). We also meet the elderly Jane Fairchild played by the inimitable Glenda Jackson.

Mothering Sunday is a moving and nostalgic view of the life of Jane Fairchild who becomes a famous author surrounded by loss but also rich experiences. This brilliant film is to be savored with the technical choices made by Eva Husson in set design, cinematography, and editing. The sound is a vivid and solid score by classical composer Morgan Kibby with adapted screenplay by Alice Birch Lady Macbeth – who wrote the screenplay nominated for a BAFTA in 2018.

© 2022 - Moira Jean Sullivan- Air Date: 03/30/22
Movie Magazine International