Magazine article Screen International

Andrew Haigh, 45 Years

Magazine article Screen International

Andrew Haigh, 45 Years

Article excerpt

Andrew Haigh's 45 Years is a truthful story about an older couple. He tells Wendy Mitchell about the film's thematic inspirations and working with the dream cast of Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay.

Andrew Haigh's 45 Years looks at a couple celebrating a long marriage, yet the director sees it as having similarities to his lauded 2011 film Weekend, which was about a couple's initial meeting.

"I do, in a sense, weirdly see both films as companion pieces; Weekend is the first flourishes of love and this is about a relationship years later," Haigh says.

45 Years follows Kate and Geoff Mercer, played by Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay, in the week before a party for their 45th anniversary. Their relationship becomes strained when he is notified the body of his first love, Katya, is found in a Swiss glacier, where he lost her 50 years ago. Geoff has obsessive thoughts regarding the accident; Kate feels insecure when he admits he would have married Katya if she had not died.

"Kate and Geoff were in a different time when they got together, there were things they didn't talk about. That was their early 20s and that's really interesting to me that you become a certain person when you enter a relationship," Haigh says.

The film is not just about the couple now, it is about the people they were and the decisions they made when they first met. "It's about the choices we make when you start to go on a path in your life. You stop making those choices as you get older," Haigh says. "You get into a relationship and you get stuck on a certain direction."

45 Years, premiering in Berlinale Competition from today, is sold by The Match Factory; Haigh reteams with Weekend's producer, Tristan Goligher of The Bureau. Curzon has already acquired UK rights.

'Weekend is the first flourishes of love and this is about a relationship years later'Andrew Haigh, director

Haigh has wanted to tell this story for years. He read David Constantine's short story, In Another Country, and started writing the script for 45 Years at the same time he wrote Weekend.

"It just really struck me; it was the central metaphor of this body frozen in time," he says. The adaptation was tricky, because the short story was 15 pages long, so Haigh had to develop the plot and characters to sustain a full feature.

The characters were originally in their 80s, and he updated that to a couple in their 60s and 70s. He also updated the time frame from the 1990s to present day. …

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