The format of the British film “The Party” directed by is quite unusual. It’s total screen time is just over one hour, which places the film in the class of mid-sized features, not very popular nowadays. It is even shorter than what would be a filmed theater play, although from many other aspects it looks like one. All the action happens within the walls and in the garden of one house. There are a total of seven characters which are on screen (on stage if you want) most of the time. Actually the closest work I could think about are the plays of , and especially “Dieu du carnage” which inspired “Carnage“  directed by . And yet, “The Party” is based on an original script written by the director of the movie . It may be the goal of the West End theaters to put on stage the play inspired by the film.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5814592

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5814592

 

Janet () is a British MP in the opposition, who lives what should be one of the best days of her life. She was nominated a minister in that odd British institution which is called ‘the shadow cabinet’ – a mirror of the real government formed by opposition politicians to show publicly the democratic alternative. She is on her way of becoming, maybe, the next Margaret Thatcher. A party with her closest family and friends is called, but besides the principal events, her family and friends have also their own announcements which will completely change the course of the day and of their whole lives. We witness one of these situations in which events go quickly out of control, marriages and old friendships are broken, and the masks of conventions fall completely because of the revelations of hidden secrets from present and past.

 

(video source Madman Films)

 

Music plays an essential role in the film. Vinyl records picked from a box near the pick-up music machine in the living room will provide the almost continuous musical background that starts with Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry’s ‘Jerusalem’ continues with famous jazz standards by Sidney Bechet, John  Coltrane and Ibrahim Ferrer, jumps between the funereal “Dido’s Lament” by Henry Purcell to the Romanian folk song ‘Ciocarlia’ (‘The Lark’) played by Grigoras Dinicu and ends with Latin music, appropriate to the passionate ending.  The music and the intensity of the acting provides the quality and the satisfaction that I experienced as a viewer. is fantastic, fast forwarding between self-confidence and vulnerability, between feeling hurt and planning revenge. as Janet’s husband wears a mask that viewers will find hard to forget, and seeing again the excellent German actor was also a treat. Each of the actors creates first class performances, their characters have each strong individuality and interact well together. The choice of black-and-wide filming became a fashion, sometimes justified, but in this case it did not seem to me to have added anything special. “The Party” with its duration and content looks less like a full length movie, and more like an afternoon theater performance in the London West End, but a good one.