Magazine article Screen International

Alice Lowe and Dolly Wells, 'Black Mountain Poets'

Magazine article Screen International

Alice Lowe and Dolly Wells, 'Black Mountain Poets'

Article excerpt

Alice Lowe and Dolly Wells play thieving sisters on the run who hide out during a poetry retreat in Black Mountain Poets, an improv comedy gem which premiered this week at the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF).

Welsh director Jamie Adams made the film as the final project in his "modern romance" trilogy, after Benny & Jolene and A Wonderful Christmas Time.

Lowe and Wells play two sisters who are on the run from the police when they steal a car and find an invitation for "the Wilding Sisters" to attend a local poetry retreat. They assume the Wildings' identities and try to hide out during the poets' weekend camping trip.

The film was shot in just five days. As Lowe says: "It was going from naught to 100 in such a short time."

Pitching their own tent and surviving muddy downpours were just two logistical challenges of the production.

Wells explains: "It felt quite intense, you were very cold and very hungry. If it wasn't a five-day shoot, if it was going to be for 25 days, you might have gotten grumpy."

Adams had described the film as akin to Some Like It Hot but with sisters hiding at a poets retreat. There are funny moments about the world of amateur poets, but not as a mean-spirited target.

Wells says: "it wasn't really taking the piss. It was the same with Some Like It Hot, it's just these imposters in a new world."

They were basing their work not on a detailed script but more a loose treatment. It meant trusting each other on set. As Wells says: "There is something terrifying about there not being one line of dialogue on the page."

Lowe adds: "It's a way of challenging yourself. Jamie really is egoless enough to let the performers do that."

Tom Cullen, best known for more serious work in Weekend and Downton Abbey, plays a handsome poet with writers block who comes between the sisters. …

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