With the North American Premiere at SXSW 2016, the film Bodkin Ras, written and directed by Kaweh Modiri, eloquently intertwines the tale of a stranger in a small town through a style part documentary, part narrative in the the coastal town of Forres, Scotland.
The characters, played by real people in the town of Forres are based on versions of themselves. The stranger, played by Sohrab Bayat, is said to be the only actor in the film.
The film is narrated by Red James, a tough local who has spent time in various prisons around the UK. His perspective on the the plight of the outsider being accepted in another world lays heavily on his own personal experience.
Writer/Director Modiri was inspired by his own visits to the town, “Between 2007 and 2011 I visited the town of Forres several times and got to know some of the townsfolk now starring in the film ‘Bodkin Ras’. The town, hidden between the Highlands and the Sea, got me thinking about the idea of introducing a fictional intruder into that context; a fugitive trying to lay low but meanwhile shaking things up.”
The residents of the quiet town, shown in their day to day, commiserating with friends at the neighborhood pub (The Eagle), neighborhood kids playing in the garden, friends chatting on front stoops - telling jokes, dancing and singing, set the tone for the type of close-knit community that Bodkin has found himself in.
Running away from something serious at home, Bodkin is left to his own devices in a strange land. And that is not forgotten on his new neighbors. The tan, dark-haired, stranger is not immune to stares and whispers that he receives from the locals.
“Everyone has their own opinion about him already and no one has spoken to him at all. That kind of says it all, doesn’t it?” Lily (Lily Szramko) mentions in the film. Lily, originally from London, also feels like an outsider among the people of Forres and can’t wait to return to her “home.” The couple quickly strike up a friendship and mutual attraction.
After landing, then losing a job at a restaurant, Eddie (Eddie Paton), takes Bodkin under his wing and offers him a job with his fencing company. Not just an employer, Eddie also introduces Bodkin to his friends and acts as a father figure to the outsider.
As much as Bodkin tries to fit it and is accepted by the townsfolk, there is always a distant look in his eye and his mind is always preoccupied with home. Even the phone calls to a familiar voice can’t ease his mind nor offer a guarantee of his safety. A life on the run makes him question his past choices, his current plans and what lies ahead for his future - whether in Forres or back home.
Written by Jessica Hudson