TFF: Iona

Few years after Shell (2012), writer-director Scott Graham comes back with another touching Scottish drama.

Iona is the tale of a single mum (Ruth Negga) returning home with her teenage son Billy, called Bull (an outstanding debut for Ben Gallagher) to take refuge after a violent incident.

If the first version of the movie, screened few months ago at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, it starts with the rape scene; but the new cut presented at the Turin Film Festival leads the audience to the completely truth step by step through many flashbacks.

“I watched it with the audience in Edimburgh and I felt it was too much, so I decided to cut the scene” said Graham during the press conference in Turin.

In this new version, the film starts with Iona and his son travelling from an island, where they burnt their car, to another remote Scottish island called Iona, the place after which the main character was named by a ferry.

Their unexpected arrival impacts on the community life bringing to light old grudges, difficult relationships and unrequited loves; breaking the balance of the island especially when the two teenagers, Bull and Sarah, start to see one another more often.

Iona’s people are a religion community where the paraplegic Sarah is carried around on people’s shoulders rather than on a wheelchair and where telephones and medical care are shimmed (as shown when Daniel, a wonderful Douglas Henshall, collapses and expires shortly after).

During the press conference, Scott Graham explained how his childhood spent in a rural community and an holiday on Iona with his mother and his sister when he was 10 have influenced the choice of location for Iona‘s story (here the press conference).

Even if the script is weak, Iona is a great movie to look at thanks to cinematographer Yoliswa von Dallwitz who makes the contrast between the wild open space and the small Scottish house interiors absolutely remarkable.

Graham is now working on a new movie about a father-son relationship based on a very popular Bruce Springsteen‘s song.


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