Skip to main content


UK, 1989 (MIFF 1990)

Director: Robert Smith

An older woman is preparing the body of a younger woman for burial. For a moment she stares bitterly at the corpse, then slaps it violently across the face.

The reason for this outburst? All is revealed in the extended flashback which is the core of this lovely chamberwork of a film about family relationships in Presbyterian, lower middle-class Clydeside in the early 1930s.

The women are mother and daughter, the former unable to forgive the latter for the shame brought when she showed passion for another woman. This gets compounded further when the daughter, Annie, becomes taken with Sadie, her own son's girlfriend. Yet Annie is a woman of irrepressible joy, good humour and sensuality, who, although accepting her conventional lot in life, also refuses to allow her free spirit to be broken.

How Annie and Sadie attempt to bring that free spirit to bloom makes for a gentle, understated study of the strong currents often bubbling beneath the bourgeois surfaces of small town normality and the contradictions which swing between beauty and oppression. While the subject matter might imply a certain grimness and gloom, this miniature Celtic jewel glimmers with wit, irony and a piercing radiance.
- (PKe)

"Its humour reminds one of the comedies of Bill (Gregory's Girl, Local Hero) Forsyth, revolving around irreverent behaviour of its puritanical characters." - Richard Bevan, The Pink Paper, 9/12/1989

See also...

Mars Ad

Spike Lee directs a TV spot for "Air Jordans". ... More »

New York Special

A special report from the world's number one media city. The Media Show talks to film directors, journalists and television producers; magazine editors and movie stars talk about what it's like to ... More »


There are no individual identities amongst the mirrors and mazes of this futuristic world. Made for the Lip Synch series. ... More »


The Media Show goes on location with the making of the film version of A Brief History Of Time, Stephen Hawking's best-seller about the origins of the universe. Directed by Errol Morris (Thin Blue ... More »


From nought to Shakespeare in 300 words - Next features an empty stage, one actor and the complete works of the bard. It's quite an audition?! ... Made for the Lip Synch series, Next signals ... More »

A Man From China

A Chinese artist comes to England after the massacre in Tiananmen Square full of hope for his new life in the West, but he finds it hard to come to terms with leaving China. Despite the efforts of ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director