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BetterMost, Wyoming & Brokeback Mountain Forum  |  The World Beyond BetterMost  |  The Culture Tent (Moderator: Sheriff Roland)  |  Topic: Josh O'Connor, Alec Secăreanu find love in God's Own Country (Sept 1 2017 UK) 0 Residents and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Aloysius J. Gleek
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« on: August 14, 2017, 12:34:52 pm »





GOD'S OWN COUNTRY Official Trailer (2017) LGBT
Published on Jun 20, 2017




Johnny Saxby works long hours in brutal isolation on his family’s remote farm in the north of England. He numbs the daily frustration of his lonely existence with nightly binge-drinking at the local pub and casual sex. When a handsome Romanian migrant worker arrives to take up temporary work on the family farm, Johnny suddenly finds himself having to deal with emotions he has never felt before. An intense relationship forms between the two which could change Johnny’s life forever.











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« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2017, 12:39:27 pm »



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« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2017, 12:49:07 pm »







Josh O'Connor and Alec Secareanu
GOD'S OWN COUNTRY
Published on Jun 7, 2017














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« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2017, 01:05:44 pm »



















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« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2017, 02:04:51 am »





Josh O'Connor and Alec Secăreanu
God's Own Country
UK Premiere, Edinburgh Film Festival

https://www.edfilmfest.org.uk/2017/gods-own-country

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« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2017, 08:18:32 am »





While it's too easy to predict Francis Lee's film being simplistically dubbed Brokeback Moors,  that comparison to Ang Lee's modern classic of gay drama isn't entirely facile, even if the social context, the contemporary setting and the highly specific sense of place make this heartfelt yet unsentimental film quite distinct. For one thing, God's Own Country  ends not with the lingering music of tragedy but on a note of hopeful wholeness.





http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/gods-own-country-review-sundance-2017-964686





God's Own Country
Sundance 2017 Review
A closed-off young Yorkshire sheep farmer gets jolted out of his emotional numbness when an
intense relationship develops with a Romanian itinerant worker in  Francis Lee 's debut feature.


The Bottom Line:
Smoldering love warms the chilly moors.


by David Rooney
10:15 AM PST 1/21/2017



Alec Secăreanu, left, and Josh O'Connor in God's Own Country



PARK CITY -- The hardscrabble lives of traditional farming families and the harsh splendor of the isolated West Yorkshire landscape provide the evocative backdrop to a poignant story of love and self-discovery in British writer-director Francis Lee's accomplished first feature, God's Own Country. Graced by its refreshingly frank treatment of gay sexuality, its casually expressive use of nudity and its eloquent depiction of animal husbandry as a contrasting metaphor for the absence of human tenderness, this is a rigorously naturalistic drama that yields stirring performances from the collision between taciturn demeanors and roiling emotional undercurrents.

While it's too easy to predict Lee's film being simplistically dubbed Brokeback Moors,  that comparison to Ang Lee's modern classic of gay drama isn't entirely facile, even if the social context, the contemporary setting and the highly specific sense of place make this heartfelt yet unsentimental film quite distinct. For one thing, God's Own Country  ends not with the lingering music of tragedy but on a note of hopeful wholeness. It deserves to find a receptive audience, even beyond the core gay constituency.

At the story's center is Johnny Saxby (Josh O'Connor), a repressed gay man in his early twenties who anesthetizes his loneliness with nightly drinking binges and the occasional cold bout of casual sex. He lives a joyless existence with his grandmother Deirdre (Gemma Jones) and father Martin (Ian Hart), who has suffered a debilitating stroke that leaves Johnny responsible for the considerable workload on their sheep farm. It's suggested that, along with his physical condition, Martin's bitterness is as much the result of being abandoned by his wife, who couldn't take the rigors of rural life. Nan isn't exactly a fount of great warmth either, and their disapproval of Johnny's boozing adds to the general mood of dourness.

With subtle strokes and subdued revelations, Lee's screenplay lays out the development of an unexpected relationship that changes Johnny in ways that are painful, profound and ultimately freeing. At first, he's resistant to his father's insistence on hiring a temporary worker to help during lambing season. And he makes no effort to be friendly when Gheorghe (Alec Secăreanu) arrives, taunting the handsome Romanian migrant by calling him a gypsy. But when the two young men are sent off to work a paddock up on the remote moors, requiring them to camp out overnight in a stone shelter, hostility gives way to physical attraction.

Lee and cinematographer Joshua James Richards make skillful atmospheric use of the rugged hill country, which looks gloomy even in spring, creating a melancholy mood and a somber canvas for the spontaneous eruption of desire between the two strangers. Their first sexual tussle is combative, angry, their naked bodies smeared in grass and mud, like animals. But while they revert to a circumspect mutual distance during the long daylight working hours, their nights together gradually give way to gentler sexual exploration.

O'Connor is terrific at conveying Johnny's guardedness and bruised solitude; the lingering stares he shoots at Gheorghe reveal not just attraction but also an intuitive emotional response to the Romanian's soulful way with the animals, the land, even the stone fencing. Secăreanu is equally effective. Without a lot of over-explanatory dialogue, a beautiful, almost silent exchange happens, in which Gheorghe reveals his deep-rooted ties to rural life while Johnny starts reevaluating his own inheritance in a less resentful light.

When Martin has a second, near-fatal stroke, Deirdre remains at the hospital with him while sending Johnny and Gheorghe back to the farm to "see to the beasts." That spell alone in the house becomes an interlude of easy domesticity and affection that further expands Johnny's understanding of himself. But when his Nan makes it clear that Martin will not sufficiently recover to resume farm labor, the pressure causes Johnny to act out in damaging ways, putting everything he's gained at risk.

In addition to the very fine work from O'Connor and Secăreanu that anchors the drama, stage and screen veteran Jones brings quiet complexity to a role in which silences count as much as words, while an almost unrecognizable Hart gives a moving performance as a hardened man who shows surprising reserves of sensitivity when it most counts. Scenes late in the film in which Johnny takes a more active role in his father's care are among the most affecting moments, albeit while never surrendering director Lee's defining restraint.

That characteristic extends to the sparing use of music, from ambient duo Dustin O'Halloran and Adam Wiltzie, who record as A Winged Victory for the Sullen; and to the muted color palette and elegant framing of Richards' cinematography. God's Own Country announces Lee as an assured new voice, his own personal ties to the setting reinforced in gorgeous colorized vintage farm footage over the end credits.




Venue: Sundance Film Festival (World Dramatic)

Production companies: Shudder Films, Inflammable Films

Cast: Josh O'Connor, Alec Secăreanu, Gemma Jones, Ian Hart, Harry Lister Smith, Patsy Ferran, Melanie Kilburn, Liam Thomas

Director-screenwriter: Francis Lee

Producers: Manon Ardisson, Jack Tarling

Director of photography: Joshua James Richards

Production designer: Stephane Collonge

Costume designer: Sian Jenkins

Editor: Chris Wyatt

Music: A Winged Victory for the Sullen

104 minutes




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« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2017, 11:02:34 am »






In case it didn’t court Brokeback Mountain  comparisons directly enough with its tale of two young sheep farmers finding love in a hopeless place, God's Own Country  seals the deal with one winkingly quoted shot: a work shirt draped on a wire hanger, poignantly removed from its wearer. Twelve years on, Ang Lee's film has proven enough of a cultural milestone to merit such affectionate homage; luckily, Francis Lee’s tender, muscular Yorkshire romance has enough of an individual voice to get away with it.






http://variety.com/2017/film/reviews/gods-own-country-review-1201966096/



SUNDANCE 2017
Sundance Film Review:
God’s Own Country


British freshman helmer Francis Lee earns his  'Brokeback Mountain'
quotations with a deeply felt gay romance set on the Yorkshire moors.


by Guy Lodge
    @guylodge

JANUARY 21, 2017 | 05:39PM PT









In case it didn’t court Brokeback Mountain  comparisons directly enough with its tale of two young sheep farmers finding love in a hopeless place, God's Own Country  seals the deal with one winkingly quoted shot: a work shirt draped on a wire hanger, poignantly removed from its wearer. Twelve years on, Ang Lee's film has proven enough of a cultural milestone to merit such affectionate homage; luckily, Francis Lee’s tender, muscular Yorkshire romance has enough of an individual voice to get away with it. Skipping some of the more predictable narrative obstacles we’ve come to expect from the coming-out drama, this sexy, thoughtful, hopeful film instead advances a pro-immigration subtext that couldn’t be more timely amid the closing borders of Brexit-era Britain. Bolstered by a particularly sympathetic lead turn from rising star Josh O’Connor, Lee’s auspicious (if somewhat dourly titled) debut feature is hearty enough to land arthouse distribution beyond just the LGBT circuit — where it will, of course, be gladly embraced.

“What’s wrong with a night out in Bradford?” 24-year-old Johnny (O’Connor) asks his gruff man-of-the-soil dad Martin (Ian Hart), only to be sharply told that the very idea is “daft.” Johnny isn’t exactly shooting for the stars in attempting to broaden his life’s very narrow horizons, but Bradford may as well be Las Vegas compared to the daily grind on the failing family sheep farm in wind-lashed northern England. To his evident frustration, he shares a roof with Martin and his grandmother Deidre (the usually plummy Gemma Jones, cast against type to tersely moving effect), his mother long absent from the picture. With most of his peers having fled the region for brighter lights, Johnny’s social life is limited to nightly binge-drinking at the local pub, and swift, wordless sexual encounters with willing lads in the back of a van. When one of them dares to suggest they meet for a pint sometime, Johnny looks as incredulous as his father did earlier. A date with a guy? Don’t be daft.

So withdrawn is Johnny at the outset that several scenes pass before we even hear him speak, and to one of his livestock at that. When his father hires itinerant Romanian migrant worker Gheorghe (Alec Secăreanu) to help with lambing season, Johnny regards the “gypsy” (in his unenlightened parlance) with little more than a sullen shrug. The surly dynamic between them shifts, however, when they’re sent to camp on the moors for several nights while they lamb the flock. Blame it on the (scant) sunshine, the moonlight or the sight of swarthily handsome Gheorghe tenderly cradling a weakling lamb, but the two men act impulsively on their attraction to each other, introducing Johnny to a physical and emotional temperature of intercourse he hasn’t previously known. Back at the farm, their relationship continues to blossom in private, though a tactful Deidre isn’t oblivious to the signs; when family misfortune increases Johnny’s responsibilities on the farm, the suspended reality of his hidden romantic life becomes harder to sustain.

What’s most bracing about God's Own Country  is the complex agency it grants its protagonist in unlocking his true desires. Rather than over-exerting well-worn clichés about rural homophobia, Lee’s script reveals pockets of tolerance in unexpected places; Johnny’s slowness to accept himself, meanwhile, seems the greater threat to his happiness. Intimacy doesn’t come naturally to man who has been raised in a household where caring is expressed through work; as captured in close-up by DP Joshua James Richards’s perceptive camera, even a gesture as innocuous as two fingertips grazing each other is a dramatic moment, practically accompanied by a silent fanfare of trumpets.

The repressed Englishman taught to love by a more worldly European? If it sounds a familiar dynamic, it is. Indeed, notwithstanding the sterner tone and setting of proceedings, certain key dramatic turns and reversals here play out much as they do in countless classical Hollywood boy-meets-girl stories. That Lee’s boy-meets-boy story doesn’t shy away from romantic convention feels, in its own way, rather progressive: God's Own Country  normalizes its characters’ love without a hint of sentimentality or sanctimony. Likewise, the film rousingly stands for the status and contributions of immigrants in the U.K. without recourse to political rhetoric. Gheorghe, who complains of his home country that “you can’t throw a rock without hitting an old lady crying for her children,” fills a practical need in a region itself abandoned by its young.

A standout in 2015’s Bridgend  who has also clocked up appearances in The Riot Club, Florence Foster Jenkins  and TV’s Peaky Blinders,  O’Connor fulfils all his gangly promise as Johnny. Beautifully essaying subtle shifts in the character’s slouchy body language and reluctant speech, he exposes the character’s vulnerabilities and go-to defence tactics with brusque economy. He has thoroughly winning chemistry, meanwhile, with Secăreanu, a strong, quietly imposing newcomer who gradually reveals a sense of playfulness and poetry behind the stoic exterior. Their love scenes, shot with casual clarity as they progress from animalistic rutting to more deliberate sensual exploration, are frankly hot without ever seeming cinematically choreographed.

Lee and Richards show little interest in prettifying the characters’ austerely spectacular surroundings, which look gustily, angrily gray even in the height of spring. Instead, they frame the landscape as oppressively or expansively as Johnny’s mood dictates. (The bucolic, brightly tinted archive footage of old-school farm labor that plays over the closing credits looks beamed in from another world entirely.) The emotional tenor of proceedings is faithfully tracked by a sparse, shivering score by American ambient duo A Winged Victory for the Sullen (one half of which, Dustin O’Halloran, is presently reaping plaudits for his work on Lion ).  By the time that tightly controlled soundscape blooms into the widescreen baroque pop of Patrick Wolf for the closing credits, the resulting heart-swell feels thoroughly earned.




Sundance Film Review: 'God's Own Country'

Reviewed at Soho Screening Rooms, London, Jan. 12, 2017. (In Sundance Film Festival — World Dramatic Competition.) Running time: 104 MIN.

Production
(U.K.) A BFI, Creative England presentation of a Shudder Films, Inflammable Films production in association with Met Film. (International sales: Protagonist Pictures, London.) Produced by Manon Ardisson, Jack Tarling. Executive producers, Diarmid Scrimshaw, Anna Duffield, Mary Burke, Celine Haddad, Paul Webster, Cavan Ash, Richard Holmes.

Crew
Directed, written by Francis Lee. Camera (color), Joshua James Richards. Editor, Chris Wyatt.

With
Josh O'Connor, Alec Secăreanu, Gemma Jones, Ian Hart, Melanie Kilburn, Harry Lister-Smith, Liam Thomas, Patsy Ferran. (English, Romanian dialogue)




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« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2017, 12:52:50 am »






God’s Own Country is not an exercise in miserabilism: it is does not believe that love or adventures of the heart are doomed. Not at all. And the title is not in any way ironic; although I thought the Super 8-style nostalgia footage of bygone harvests that accompanied the closing credits was not tonally right for the tough candour of what had gone before. It is a film which lives and dies by the performances which director Francis Lee gets from his cast, and these are excellent: sharp, intelligent and emotionally generous.






https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jan/22/gods-own-country-review-a-dales-answer-to-brokeback-thats-a-very-british-love-story




Sundance 2017
First look review
God's Own Country
Sundance 2017 Review
Dales answer to Brokeback  that's a very British love story
This Yorkshire-set story about a relationship between a farmer and an immigrant worker
is a beautifully judged, unsentimental study from first time director Francis Lee


by Peter Bradshaw
@PeterBradshaw1

Monday 23 January 2017 22.30 EST



Alec Secăreanu, left, and Josh O'Connor in Francis Lee's God's Own Country




This debut feature from Yorkshire-born actor and first-time director Francis Lee is tough, sensual, unsentimental, with excellent lead performances from Josh O'Connor and Alec Secăreanu. Johnny (O’Connor) is the unhappy, angry young guy working on the family farm, dulling his emotional pain with drink and casual sex; Gheorghe (Secareanu) is a hired hand from Romania brought in for a few weeks. They give tremendous performances – and Gemma Jones and Ian Hart are both very good in the supporting roles as Johnny’s grandmother and father, stoic and tightlipped by temperament and repressed by years of work and responsibility, and in his father’s case by the aftermath of a stroke.

It is almost – but not quite – a Dales Brokeback,  a love story which does not exist in quite as much of a homophobic context as the classic Ang Lee movie and Annie Proulx story, and which does not require two female partners to exist in respective states of denial. (In fact, the storyline and its bucolic setting are rather more similar to Catherine Corsini’s recent French film La Belle Saison,  or Summertime.) It is, in its way, a very British love story, bursting at the seams with unspoken emotions, unvoiced fears about the future, and a readiness to displace every emotion into hard physical work.

Lee follows in the path of British films like Duane Hopkins’s Better Things  and Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights, or even Peter Hall’s 70s classic Akenfield : films which show that the countryside is not a bland picturesque place, gentle and calming. It is fierce, lonely and strange: qualities which echo with the people who live there. There is an unsparingly tough scene in which Gheorghe skins a dead lamb so that the pelt can be laid upon another one so that the dead animal’s mother will give it milk: a classic piece of country lore, unselfconsciously presented.

Johnny is a borderline alcoholic with a perpetually bleary face, almost asymmetric with hungover agony. All his friends from school have gone off to uni, including Robyn, who teases him about his morose attitude when she sees him down the pub – a nice performance from Patsy Ferran. But Johnny has had to stay behind to help look after the farm when his widowed father (Hart) was affected by a stroke. And what does he live for, now? When he is in town for livestock auctions, Johnny has fleeting sexual encounters with people he meets there: Lee coolly places one such liaison after a scene in which Johnny has made a manual examination of a cow with an antiseptically lubricated plastic gauntlet. We are far from James Herriot country.

Things change when Gheorghe arrives: a thoughtful, watchful young man who calmly submits to the squalor and hardship of living in a grim caravan in the yard. But Gheorghe is a good worker and he has ideas: he asks the family if they have considered making sheep’s cheese from the milk, a possible lucrative sideline. They hadn’t. Gheorghe and Johnny have to spend nights away from the farmbuilding up in the hills repairing a dry stone wall. Inevitably, things happen away from judging eyes.

God’s Own Country is not an exercise in miserabilism: it is does not believe that love or adventures of the heart are doomed. Not at all. And the title is not in any way ironic; although I thought the Super 8-style nostalgia footage of bygone harvests that accompanied the closing credits was not tonally right for the tough candour of what had gone before. It is a film which lives and dies by the performances which Lee gets from his cast, and these are excellent: sharp, intelligent and emotionally generous.





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« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2017, 09:35:22 am »

It's on my MUST SEE list when it becomes available in the US.   The writeups in the UK have been great.   Thanks for posting the links!
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« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2017, 02:55:26 pm »

I saw it yesterday afternoon. It is not BBM even if set in rural surroundings. Josh O'Connor is no oil painting but Alec Secăreanu is very good looking. It is much more a film of modern times. Johnny is certainly not a newbie at gay sex, we find that out almost at the beginning and I doubt Georghe is either.  Some of it is quite unbelievable. Fortunately there is not much dialogue as the Northern accent is quite difficult and I am told Josh O'Connor's accent is not good anyway but I would not know. The foreign accent of Alec is much easier to understand. I guess this is a similarity with BBM.  My sister who is older than me had trouble understanding Ennis and I can understand why. Thankfully the ending is much happier.
One couple left after about the 2nd sex scene, they should have read the promo material. It is much more explicit than BBM but I guess that is again a sign of how movies have developed in 10 years. In the past week I finished seeing 18 movies at the Nz International Film Festival and the French movie "Let the Sunshine In" begins with a very explicit sex scene with Juliette Binoche leaving very little to the imagination.

I enjoyed "God's own country" but I would not put it on a level with BBM. It was better than "Call me by my name" but did not hit me emotionally in the same way as "The man in the Orange shirt" nor of course BBM.
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BetterMost, Wyoming & Brokeback Mountain Forum  |  The World Beyond BetterMost  |  The Culture Tent (Moderator: Sheriff Roland)  |  Topic: Josh O'Connor, Alec Secăreanu find love in God's Own Country (Sept 1 2017 UK) « previous next »
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