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In the tradition of Trainspotting, the black Welsh comedy Twin Town contains one of the most ingenious revenge plots of recent memory involving a pair of the screen's nastiest adolescents. The first feature by Welsh director Kevin Allen has made an impact in Britain and the US, and will do so again in Australia. PAUL FISCHER met the film's writer/director earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival.

The crowded hospitality bar in Main Street, Park City, temporary home of hordes of journalists and visiting filmmakers at the Sundance Film Festival, may not be the obvious place to find Welsh director Kevin Allen. Allen, whose first directorial feature screened at the prestigious Festival, is finding the whole thing a bit hard to take. "It's a crazed place, really, sort of like a piranha attack. I'm not a great networker," the one time documentary director explains. But here, he's on a mission to extol the virtues of his first narrative feature film, a film that the Americans don't know how to take. "It's not conventional and at all times pleasant, so they're a bit quizzical about what we're trying to do."

Twin Town is a black and anarchy-laced comedy that takes an inside-out look at the residents of the Welsh seaside town of Swansea, a gritty place once described by poet Dylan Thomas as "an ugly lovely town." Living in one of the town's trailer parks is Fatty Lewis and his dubious children Adie, who works in a sleazy massage parlour, and his psychotic, car-stealing twin boys Jeremy and Julian. Other main characters include successful businessman/druglord Bryn, his uptight wife Lucy, and their spoiled daughter, Bonny. The story begins in earnest when Fatty, a roofer, suffers a ladder accident while working on Bryn's home. Though legally responsible, Bryn refuses to financially compensate poor Mr. Lewis. This leads his crazed sons to retaliate by showering Bonny with urine while she performs at a karaoke bar. Using his influence, Bryn has the cops pay a violent visit to the boys, who return to his home for more gruesome revenge. From there the situation escalates into increased violence and tragedy.

"Getting the chance to shoot there was just brilliant, even though it was very weird filming in your home town".

Allen, who now lives in London grew up in Swansea, wanted to return to his Welsh roots to make a film with Swansea as its central character. "I always wanted to make a film there because I'd always felt that it was truly a filmic location. Getting the chance to shoot there was just brilliant, even though it was very weird filming in your home town". It started out as a serious treatise on life in the city, "but then evolved into something darkly funny."

Though an admirer of the likes of Ken Loach, Allen himself says he's "dead against the kind of cap-in-hand film making he does", and in order "for as many people as possible to see my film, it has to be as broad as possible, yet retain a feeling of parochialness."

"I was amazed at how much talent there was and I was determined to retain the level of authenticity I was after."

To create a truly authentic Welsh flavour, Allen cast the film from predominantly Welsh locals. "I was amazed at how much talent there was and I was determined to retain the level of authenticity I was after. On the one hand, you're forced to deal with no names, but on the other, you're making up for it by going for the real thing."

Allen sees Twin Town as "a revenge comedy with a touch of black " and adds that he wants audiences "to have a really good laugh and sit through 90 minutes of good entertainment. But at the same time, I also want that humour to shroud a kind of dark underbelly of small town skulduggery which seems, superficially, ridiculous." Superficially, because he says, "there's nothing unfeasible in the story."

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Kevin Allen, director/screenwriter

Images from Twin Town

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