Married for 45 years, without children, Kate and Geoff Mercer are poised to celebrate their wedding anniversary with a party, when Geoff receives a letter that shakes both of them. The letter, from Switzerland, lets him know that a body has been found: that of Katya, his girlfriend before Kate, who died falling into a fissure in a glacier when the couple were on a walking holiday in 1962. Geoff tells Kate that he was regarded as Katya’s next-of-kin, since they had been pretending to be married. Though Kate continues to prepare for the party, and the couple shares some romantic excitement about it, she becomes increasingly disturbed by Geoff’s preoccupation with Katya. Geoff begins smoking again; reminisces at length about his carefree time with his previous love; seeks out photographs of her in the attic; and complains bitterly about the way his contemporaries and ex-colleagues have aged. Under Kate’s questioning, he states that he would have married Katya had she lived. While Geoff is at a work lunch, Kate searches the attic and finds slides of Katya, which reveal that she was pregnant at the time of her death. As the celebrations grow closer, they delve further into their past, leaving their future in question.
The original short story was beautifully clear and concise but for the adaptation it needed some expansion. Apart from adding the anniversary party, the biggest change was to lower characters’ ages from mid-80s to late 60/early 70s. The original time frame meant the story was set in the 1990s and the backstory was during the Second World War. I wanted the story of Kate and Geoff to feel very present-tense. I didn’t want it to be about the choices of an older generation now gone, but a story about the choices we all have to make. I also decided to tell the story solely from Kate’s perspective, which was different from the original story. There are many films and works of fiction that deal with the male existential crisis and I wanted to take a different perspective on the story.
Links / Reference
His break-out film, WEEKEND, premiered at the SXSW Film Festival winning the Emerging Visions Audience Award before being released world-wide. It went on to win numerous awards including two British Independent Film Awards and an Evening Standard Award for Best Screenplay. Andrew also won the London Film Critics Award for Best Breakthrough Filmmaker. The film appeared on many ‘best of year’ lists including the New York Times and the film has since received a prestigious Criterion Collection release.
Cast & Crew
Directed by : Andrew Haigh
Written by : Andrew Haigh
Produced by : Tristan Goligher
Director of Photography : Lol Crawley
Editor : Jonathan Alberts
Production Design : Sarah Finlay
Costume Design : Suzie Harman
Sound Design : Joakim Sundström
Main Cast : Charlotte Rampling (Kate Mercer), Tom Courtenay (Geoff Mercer), Geraldine James (Lena), Dolly Wells (Charlotte), David Sibley (George), Sam Alexander (Chris the postman), Richard Cunningham (Mr. Watkins), Hanna Chalmers, Camille Ucan (café waitress), Rufus Wright
Nominations and Awards
- European Actress 2015
- European Actor 2015
- European Screenwriter 2015
- EFA Feature Film Selection 2015