Bait is a true original in both form and content

Shot with clockwork cameras on grainy 16mm stock, which Cornish film-maker Mark Jenkin hand-processed in his studio in Newlyn, Bait is a true original in both form and content. Clearly influenced by Nicolas Roeg, this collage of sound and vision is arresting, mesmerising and utterly compelling.

Siblings Martin and Steven Ward (Edward Rowe and Giles King) argue over the proper use of the dead father’s boat – one scraping a living selling fish and lobster, while the other takes tourists out to sea.  All the while, it’s the current owners of their father’s house, played with grim authenticity by Mary Woodvine and Simon Shepherd, that they should be turning their attention to. An uneasy tension pervades this film. It feels like it could easily go somewhere very dark indeed, but its impossible to stop watching. The pleasure, and it’s a measured one, is working out just what awaits.

This is a superb and nuanced examination of tensions between locals and incomers in a once-thriving fishing village, and an evocative portrait of families at war in a part of the country where traditional lifestyles are under threat. It’s also a startling debut that promises great things to come from this astonishingly talented director.