Considered a seminal Scottish novel, Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s 1932 classic, Sunset Song, sounds echoes of Thomas Hardy and DH Lawrence in its bracing tale of a farmer’s daughter enduring all that life can throw at her in the World War I era. Realistic and romantic, it dovetails naturally with Terence Davies’ work (The House of Mirth; The Deep Blue Sea; The Long Day Closes) in its compassionate identification with a strong but struggling woman, and unsentimental view of an ignorant, patriarchal working class family.
After her mother suffers a tragic breakdown, it is left to Chris (luminous newcomer Agyness Deyn) to put aside her aspirations and care for her younger siblings as well as her domineering, angry father (Peter Mullan). Respite comes in the courtship of a sympathetic neighbor, Ewan (Kevin Guthrie), but the outbreak of the Great War comes hard on the heels of their wedding, and while the conflict seems a million miles away from their rustic existence, pressure mounts on Ewan to enlist…
Shot in 65mm widescreen, Davies’ stately, composed aesthetic harks all the way back to DW Griffith and John Ford; old fashioned, perhaps, but tapping into vast reservoirs of feeling.
"A grand-scale melodrama compressed into the quietly burning point of a single soul." Richard Brody, New Yorker
"Extraordinary visual grace… lyrical and harrowing." Geoffrey Macnab, The Independent
"A lyrical triumph." Mark Kermode, The Guardian