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Take the Bait

Glad to wave bye-bye to the summer influx of crowds and caravans? Check out Bait - a darkly witty drama tackling the effect of tourism on one south-west fishing village.

Here’s a little light relief for anyone who’s sat behind a caravan stuck in a narrow country lane this summer, shouting bleddy grockles (not me, of course…).

Bait is a quirky award-winning indie drama, shot on grainy black and white film about the effect of tourism on a present-day south-west fishing village. Written and directed by Cornwall’s Mark Jenkin, the 89-minute film tells the all-too familiar story of a coastal community trying to balance the need for tourist income with the unwelcome changes it brings in its wake.

It’s been hailed as ‘a genuine modern masterpiece’ by Guardian film critic Mark Kermode and entered box office charts at number 25 – incredibly out-selling big-budget films, including the new Tarantino, in some cinemas.

Filmed in Penzance and Charlestown, it follows gruff cove fisherman Martin (played by actor and comedian Edward Rowe) who doesn’t have a boat and his brother Steven (Giles King) who’s repurposed their father’s vessel for tourist trips, and their subsequent falling out over the influx of stag parties and holiday homes displacing the locals.

I’ve only seen the trailer but it’s strangely compelling: it made me titter and roll my eyes in recognition at familiar tourist-town tropes while filling me with nostalgia for those grainy Sunday afternoon films watched with my grandparents. And don’t worry, it’s not xenophobic – the film tackles the short-changing of the tourists as much as it does the locals.

If you’re a fan of quirky gallows humour (Dawn French is a fan of the film), book in for Saturday 28 September at Dartington’s beautiful Barn Cinema which comes with the added bonus of a post-screening discussion hosted by the film-maker Mark Jenkin.

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