Clio Barnard

GB 2017. 89 Min.
Color. DCP. E/d

After 15 years away, Alice returns to the family farm in Yorkshire. Her father has died, and the young woman wants to take over the lease for the land and continue breeding sheep. Her brother Joe, who looked after the old man and ran the farm with modest success, is completely dumbfounded by her plans. He not only sees his own plans thwarted, Alice’s sudden reappearance also recalls long-repressed memories, and leads to eruptions that become increasingly devastating. The mother has been absent from the beginning in this family constellation, and one can easily imagine what that meant for Alice’s childhood.


Dark River makes no secret of the traumas that the protagonist suffered as a result of paternal abuse, but from the outset concentrates on the downright stubborn determination with which Alice tries to confront the very concrete demons of her past, in order to finally reclaim the place of her childhood. Her brother is horrified and upset by the fact that she refuses to be a victim. Barnard draws painfully accurate lines of conflict in this sibling drama, which confidently combines bitter realism with symbolic exaggeration. (as)


DirectorClio Barnard
ScreenplayClio Barnard
CinematographyAdriano Goldman
EditingLuke Dunkley, Nick Fenton
MusicHarry Escott
WithRuth Wilson, Mark Stanley, Sean Bean, Esme Creed-Miles
ProducerTracy O’Riordan

Clio Barnard