The Inland Road

Posted Monday 03 Jul 2017

The Inland Road Lily & Tia KEY

We've been looking forward to this one: congratulations to Jackie van Beek for completing her first feature! Van Beek directed and wrote this philosophical enquiry with wonderfully complex female characters.

The Inland Road
2017, 80 minutes
Festivals: Berlin 2017, Seattle 2017, Giffoni (July 14-22) 2017
Director/Screenplay: Jackie van Beek

New Zealand audiences will probably know writer/director Jackie van Beek as Pauline from Funny Girls, rather than as an internationally award-winning short filmmaker. Van Beek's writing has a more poetic and serious bent, and in her first feature she turns her attention to home and family, focussing on mothering, daughters, and the after-effects of romantic and sexual encounters.

The cinematography by Giovanni C. Lorusso boasts the rugged farm landscapes of Central Otago, strikingly captured in natural light. These spacious landscapes contrast with hand-held close-ups of the superb naturalistic performances. Teenage Tia, on the run from a disrupted family situation, is played with subtle depth by newcomer Gloria Popata, alongside local farmer Will (David Elliot), his pregnant wife Donna (Chelsie Preston Crayford) and their six-year-old niece Lily (Georgia Spillane).

The dramaturgy resists conventional narrative choices to reach gentler yet resonant conclusions. It's particularly enjoyable to see female characters show such sensitivity, complexity and empathy. An anticipated and enjoyable debut feature. - Jo Randerson

Hollywood Reporter review: