London Film Festival 2022: Aftersun – ★★★★★

All London Film Festival 2022 reviews have been written by the wonderfully talented and massive film fan Brigitte Krause. You can follow her on Twitter – @TheBrigitteEdit & check out all of her LFF 2022 reviews here.

Where does one begin with ‘Aftersun’? When I think about the film, I have a clear image of certain scenes in mind. I feel the sun on my skin and hear 90’s music in the background. Fragments of my memory replaying the film in my mind.

The film follows 11-year-old Sophie (Frankie Corio) and her twenty-something father (Paul Mescal) while on vacation in Turkey. We see them make memories doing all sorts of activities. Even an old DV camcorder makes an appearance to capture special moments. A father and daughter relationship so clearly filled with unconditional love.

Image via A24/ Mubi

The relationship between you as a child and your parents can be all sorts of things. You almost don’t see them as other human beings when you are a child. You know them as your parents. We lack understanding of how they have their own lives and worries and co-exist with us in the world, in moments when you are sleeping and not with them. We see this in the film too, where Calum is by himself smoking or sitting on his bed, struggling with his emotions. Whether those are false memories, filling in gaps by an older Sophie, we don’t know.

The film uses Sophie’s fragmented memory without overshadowing it with nostalgia. You have the occasional 90’s music playing in the background and the use of old camera footage as a medium to transport you into moments that are as rewarding as the footage itself.

It’s a remarkable debut by director Charlotte Wells, who has such a clear vision for the film and how it’s shot. I’m playing with the idea that this is the only way we can depict memory in film from now on.

When it comes to Mescal, I need him to stay in indie film for a few more years before he starts making big studio films. I sincerely believe we will witness many more performances that show his versatility that I could write endlessly long sentences about.

Image via A24/Mubi

The connection and chemistry he can have with his young co-star Corio are incredibly touching. He mentioned during a recent Q&A that he asked her parents to stay with him on a sort of pre-shot holiday to get familiar with each other. Which massively paid off because you could have fooled me into thinking they are father and daughter or at least related.

For me, ‘Aftersun’ is one of the best films this year has delivered, and I know it will stay with me for a long time.

Directed by: Charlotte Wells
Cast: Paul Mescal, Frankie Corio
Runtime: 1h 36min

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