Eve (Camille Keenan) and Charlie (Dustin Clare) are about to have a baby, but are no longer together. After years of history and months of separation, they have 24 hours to find their way forward. Set in Christchurch, New Zealand one year after the earthquakes that devastated the city, SUNDAY is a story like the city: one of past devastation and a chance at rebuilding.
Review by Louise Keller:
There's an appealing gentleness in the depiction of this story about a fractured relationship searching for its direction. Set on a backdrop of earthquake-devastated Christchurch, director Michelle Joy Lloyd's debut film is both internal and external as it contemplates the future of its two protagonists, while canvassing the prickly present and the idyllic past. Beautiful imagery, a simple narrative and cohesive performances weave together to create a film filled with both sides of love's coin: happiness and disappointment. Camille Keenan and Dustin Clare, who also collaborated with Lloyd to write the screenplay, are the stars of this two hander, and provide the magic that glues everything together.
When the film begins, we see glimpses of the relationship between Eve (Keenan) and Charlie (Clare) in earlier happy times in Sydney. There is fun, passion, tenderness and joy as they enjoy each other - it is a world in which only two people exist. Time doesn't matter; they are clearly in love. It's a sharp contrast to the awkwardness between the two when the narrative begins and Eve collects Charlie at the airport. 'Wow,' he says as he sees her pregnant tummy, clearly uncomfortable to ask the questions he needs to ask. The screenplay is clever in that it gives us just enough information on a need to know basis as we go along, flitting back and forth from the present to the past; from easy intimacy to awkward discomfort.
What has happened to damage this beautiful relationship? Is it over? What are the issues that they need to canvass? While not much may happen on the surface, there is plenty going on underneath. Jealousy, hurt, confusion, uncertainty. There is a wonderful sense of beauty and tranquility as they walk through a garden and park, the camera panning through the flowers and trellis archways, the inner turbulence a sharp contrast to the setting. Ryan Alexander Lloyd's cinematography and lighting is superb. A romantic gesture fizzles; there's a giant chess game; the crucial issues are finally addressed as they sit in the car at night looking at the lights. They visit the ghosts of the past - her grandparents' place, the cemetery. Much of the language is internal: body language, an expression in the eye. We are with them every second as they try to recapture the intimacy and honesty of their earlier relationship.
Real-life partners Keenan and Clare have a lovely connection - there is effortless chemistry between them - a crucial element for the success of the film Like the relationship between Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in Richard Linklater's Before (Sunrise, Sunset, Midnight) series, we care about what happens to Eve and Charlie. It's a gem of a film that simply evolves - a bit like life itself.
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(NZ, Aus, 2014)
CAST: Dustin Clare, Camille Keenan, Jacob Tormuri, Steve Wrigley
PRODUCER: Dustin Clare, Michelle Joy Lloyd
DIRECTOR: Michelle Joy Lloyd
SCRIPT: Dustin Clare, Camille Keenan, Michelle Joy Lloyd
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ryan Alexander Lloyd
EDITOR: Krisztian Majdik
MUSIC: Not credited
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Not credited
RUNNING TIME: 71 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Fighting Chance Films
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 2, 2015 (selected cinemas Vic, NSW, Qld, SA); multi-platform release combining theatrical screenings with an Australian-first day & date launch on Australian SVOD platform Stan, plus DVD, via VOD platforms iTunes, Sony, Xbox, Google Play, Fetch TV, Vimeo on Demand, Reelhouse & Dendy Direct.