“The view may be beautiful, but you can’t eat it.” British filmmaker Mark Jenkin’s debut feature Bait met with adoring critical acclaim following its premiere at the 2019 Berlinale. Continuing the celebration of lo-fi handmade filmmaking from his shorts work, it’s shot in grainy 16mm black and white and chronicles a Cornish coastal town under threat from modernity.
“Feels original, experimental and often mythic…”
Fisherman Martin (Edward Rowe) is at war with his brother Steven (Giles King), who has appropriated their boat for tourist cruises. He’s also bristling against Tim and Sandra Leigh (Simon Shepherd, Mary Woodvine), the well-off Londoners who bought his childhood home and whose son is displeased by his sister dating Steven’s broodingly handsome boy Neil (Isaac Woodvine). As the end of summer nears, a misguided prank leads to rising tensions.
Around this drama, Jenkin has fashioned a film that feels original, experimental and often mythic in its observations of the timeless natural world alongside the everyday human one. Strikingly atmospheric and stylistically bold, rooted in local culture and community, it is a stark story, both nostalgic and furiously contemporary, positioning Jenkin as one of the most exciting voices in British cinema today.