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God's Own Country Image

God's Own Country

Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema

Writer-director Francis Lee announces himself as a major talent with this remarkable, award-winning debut; he has crafted a sharply observed, richly textured and thrillingly sensual story about the redemptive powers of love and self-acceptance. Johnny Saxby is an unhappy lad: stuck on a sheep farm in the bleak hills of Yorkshire with his stoic grandmother and disapproving father, he numbs himself with alcohol and joyless anonymous sex. Enter Gheorghe (Alec Secăreanu), a ruggedly handsome Romanian farmhand whose gentle nature and soulful appreciation for rural life provide the catalyst for transformative change.

Comparisons to Brokeback Mountain are inevitable and not unfounded—Lee cheekily and very explicitly references that earlier film—but whereas Brokeback was rather chaste and ultimately tragic, God’s Own Country is teeming with raw sexuality and frames queer love as profoundly redemptive and liberating. It’s also a film that is very much rooted in the Yorkshire countryside, finding fierce beauty in the region’s barren, windswept vistas and refusing to shy away from the more visceral elements of animal husbandry.

Josh O’Connor is outstanding as the emotionally repressed, angry and mistrustful Johnny, beautifully revealing the character’s vulnerabilities as he opens himself up to the possibility of happiness. The rest of the cast is terrific as well, with Ian Hart doing an unexpectedly affecting turn as Johnny’s father.

"One of the most assured, fully-formed British debuts of recent years."—Paul O’Callaghan, Sight & Sound

Teddy Award, Berlin 17; Best British Feature, Edinburgh 17

Director Francis Lee
Country of Origin: UK
Year: 2017
Running Time: 104 mins
Format: DCP
Cast: Josh O'Connor, Alec Secăreanu, Gemma Jones, Ian Hart, Harry Lister Smith, Patsy Ferran
Executive Producer: Diarmid Scrimshaw, Anna Duffield, Mary Burke, Celine Haddad, Paul Webster, Cavan Ash, Richard Holmes
Producer: Manon Ardisson, Jack Tarling
Cinematographer: Joshua James Richards
Editor: Chris Wyatt
Production Design: Stephane Collonge
Music: A Winged Victory for the Sullen
Production Company: Shudder Films / Inflammable Films
Print Source: Pacific Northwest Pictures

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