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World Premiere - Fajr International Film Festival - Tehran 2009
Uk Premiere Winner - Best International Feature - London Independent Film Festival2009

Boucher and Mills' direction manages to tread a fine line between comedy and tragedy, providing humour without stupidity and emotion without overt manipulation TIME OUT 2009

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SYNOPSIS & DIRECTORS NOTES  |  MAKING OF THE BURIAL

SYNOPSIS - THREE BROTHERS AND A COFFIN...

When three estranged brothers gather for their mother’s funeral the last thing they expected was a family road trip. Mother’s final wish was clear: “Take me to the river and bury me with your Father”. The reluctant sons, a girlfriend and a coffin squash into a vintage hearse, bumble their way from France to England, and realise that to bury the past there’s some digging up to do.

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

The idea for The Burial began when writer/directors David Mills and Danielle Boucher decided to take Cacahuete, an eccentric punk French street theatre company, and drop them into an unsuspecting remote Scottish village and film what happens.

Cacahuete would carry Mama's coffin and try, with the help of the locals, to find the cemetery. In a country where 'freedom' is cherished, would people choose to join the anarchy, subvert the norms and embrace some good-natured chaos? What’s the red button on the outside of the bus for? Let’s push it...

This rebellious spirit of freedom soon outgrew the television documentary idea and became a feature length road movie. The original concept challenged the public to feel ‘free’ in a public place. The film is more personal. Each of the characters are tormented by something that inhibits them – they need to be freed from their past. When co-writing the film David reflected on how he and his three sisters responded to the untimely death of their father in childhood. Each have taken a different path stemming in some way back to this childhood incident. In The Burial, the characters must face their own demons, their own bitterness before they can move on.

One of the great challenges for the directors, was taking the passion and energy of the lead actors’ anarchic comedic street personas, and harnessing it into a subtle simmering energy.
Given David and Danielle’s desire for a film rich with nuanced gesture, and their limited French, witty improvisation was channelled into physical performance mostly trapped inside a car.

The car, a vintage Daimler hearse, journeys with its cargo of comedic turmoil through a lonely landscape giving the film a timeless air. With minimal dialogue, the landscape became an important part of driving the narrative. The warm autumnal tones of Mama’s hometown give way to bleak barren stretches of road - reflecting the inner struggles of the characters.

A European sensibility was mixed with bittersweet Australian humour. In one scene, the unlikely hero Henri needs to stop for the toilet. It is raining and in every direction there is water. His unease is heightened by the hypnotic beat of the windscreen wipers, so he panics and chooses to empty his urine bag out the window. It is both amusing and painful to watch. The horrified reaction of the others sends us back into a boyhood memory. These resonant flashbacks form the emotional heartbeat for the film sending the audience back to the present with renewed empathy and understanding. And so this cycle continues until our 3 brothers and one long suffering girlfriend find their way back to the river that defined their lives.

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