's first time director William Nicholson has long been a scriptwriter with an eye for historical detail (Shadowlands
). Set in 1830's Sussex, his script for Firelight
could so easily have been made to look like an off-the-peg BBC costume drama. But with his careful directorial eye for colour and mood Nicholson ensures that never happens. The story concerns Sophie Marceau's Swiss governess, who breaks the societal taboo of out-of-marriage sex to provide a child for Stephen Dillane's cold British aristocrat. Firelight
is an exploration of the maternal instinct, and is a remarkably feminine film to come from the pen and lens of a male director. Dillane's bed-ridden wife, her lovesick housekeeping sister, and especially the brittle and withdrawn child Louisa are all fully-rounded characters whose lives intersect and threaten each other with emotional tragedy at every turn. Holding the simple tale together alongside the performances and photography is a magical score by Christopher Gunning, which paints a sad yet wondrous picture of the symbolically dancing flames. There's also a scene-stealing cameo from Joss Ackland as the bullish father who ultimately encourages everyone to dismiss convention and lead the lives they truly desire. --Paul Tonks
Germany released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), German ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), Italian ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), English ( Subtitles ), French ( Subtitles ), German ( Subtitles ), Italian ( Subtitles ), Spanish ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (2.35:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: In 1838, lovely governess Elisabeth agrees to bear a child of anonymous English landowner, and he will in return pay her father's debt. At birth she, as agreed, gives up the child. Seven years later she is hired as governess to a girl on a remote Sussex estate. The father of the girl, Charles Godwin, turns out to be that anonymous landowner. So Elisabeth has to be her own daughter's governess, and she can't reveal the secret of her tie with little Louisa.
SCREENED/AWARDED AT: San Sebastian International Film Festival, ...Firelight ( Firelight - Le lien secret ) ( Fire light )