Dir. Danielle Boucher & David Mills
Mon Apr 27, 8:45pm -
Buy tickets here
When three estranged brothers gather for their mother’s funeral the
last thing they expected was a family road trip. Mother’s final wish
was clear: “Take me to the river and bury me with your Father”.
The reluctant sons, a girlfriend
and a coffin squash into a vintage hearse, bumble their way from
France to England, and realise that to bury the past there’s some
digging up to do.
The idea for The Burial began when
writer/directors David Mills and Danielle Boucher decided to take
Cacahuete, an eccentric punk French street theatre company, and drop
them into an unsuspecting remote Scottish village and film what
Cacahuete would carry Mama's coffin and try, with the help of the
locals, to find the cemetery. In a country where 'freedom' is
cherished, would people choose to join the anarchy, subvert the
norms and embrace some good-natured chaos? What’s the red button on
the outside of the bus for? Let’s push it...
This rebellious spirit of freedom soon outgrew the television
documentary idea and became a feature length road movie. The
original concept challenged the public to feel ‘free’ in a public
place. The film is more personal. Each of the characters are
tormented by something that inhibits them – they need to be freed
from their past. When co-writing the film David reflected on how he
and his three sisters responded to the untimely death of their
father in childhood. Each have taken a different path stemming in
some way back to this childhood incident. In The Burial, the
characters must face their own demons, their own bitterness before
they can move on.
One of the great challenges for the directors, was taking the
passion and energy of the lead actors’ anarchic comedic street
personas, and harnessing it into a subtle simmering energy.
Given David and Danielle’s desire for a film rich with nuanced
gesture, and their limited French, witty improvisation was
channelled into physical performance mostly trapped inside a car.
The car, a vintage Daimler hearse, journeys with its cargo of
comedic turmoil through a lonely landscape giving the film a
timeless air. With minimal dialogue, the landscape became an
important part of driving the narrative. The warm autumnal tones of
Mama’s hometown give way to bleak barren stretches of road -
reflecting the inner struggles of the characters.
A European sensibility was mixed with bittersweet Australian humour.
In one scene, the unlikely hero Henri needs to stop for the toilet.
It is raining and in every direction there is water. His unease is
heightened by the hypnotic beat of the windscreen wipers, so he
panics and chooses to empty his urine bag out the window. It is both
amusing and painful to watch. The horrified reaction of the others
sends us back into a boyhood memory. These resonant flashbacks form
the emotional heartbeat for the film sending the audience back to
the present with renewed empathy and understanding. And so this
cycle continues until our 3 brothers and one long suffering
girlfriend find their way back to the river that defined their