Directors| Joseph Bull | Luke Seomore
Cast: Barry Ward, Chloe Pirrie, Hayley Squire
86min UK Drama
Barry Ward gives an intensely heartfelt turn in this doom-laden debut drama that pictures Britain as a sombre soul that has lost its way: untethered from its agrarian roots, haunted by the past, drowning a mire of cultural dislocation. Ward plays Adam, one of as a stream of people who are struggling to make sense of their lives, adrift from family and meaningful identity.
Told through David Proctor’s hauntingly evocative wide-screen visuals and intimate close-ups, BLOOD CELLS is a poetically poignant low-budget drama from Joseph Bull and Luke Seomore, whose powerful documentary Isolation explored the tragic aftermath of war for injured British Servicemen .
In the post apocalypse of Foot and Mouth disease, Adam’s family farm on the Yorkshire Dales has suffered a crippling loss, leading to the widescale slaughter of livestock and his father’s suicide, pictured in the tragic opening scenes. Adam has wandered around aimlessly in search of work, desperately clutching at the straws of previous loves and relationships until his brother, Aiden gives him the chance to reunite with the family for the birth of his first child. Making his way home involves an uncertain journey into a lonely past as Adam rakes over the ashes of his youth. The wretched recollections of the past, seen in vivid flashback, continue to dog his days, undermining his mental wellbeing as he struggles on, often close to tears.
In one vignette, he finds himself in a bleak seaside backwater in Rhyl where his ex-girlfriend Lauren (Chloe Pirrie from Shell), bitterly rejects his attempts to re-kindle their romance. In a nightclub he meets a couple of girls who echo his sentiments of loss and disorientation in their own young lives, presenting a pitiful portrait of young and directionless life. Heading to Sheffield, Adam discovers that his hard-edged ex-lover Hayley (Hayley Squires), is keen to have him back but he finds her new work ethically unacceptable and moves on.
BLOOD CELLS offers a strikingly naturalistic perspective of the British landscape and one that mixes various genres to create a deeply affecting and richly textured drama that is made all the more watchable by Barry Ward’s vulnerable and reflective performance as Adam. To its credit, BLOOD CELLS is the only British project ever to have been selected by the Biennale College: Cinema. Made on a shoestring budget £119,000 – and none the worse for it – and funded solely by the Biennale|Venice Film Festival. Recommended.
BLOOD CELLS IS ON GENERAL RELEASE ON 27TH JUNE AFTER A UK PREMIERE AT EDINBURGH FILM FESTIVAL