_ Tunnel of love
Claire Grogan is back in Scotland working on a First Reels/Scottish Film School short. Alan Morrison went on location.
It all began with a newspaper story which appeared last summer: a couple make love in a btrsy train compartment as it enters a tttnnel. but the other passengers orin complain when they light up their post-coital cigarettes in a no-smoking area. A true event. epitornising the British public's hang- trps about sex'.’ 01' a witty hack's attempt to fill column space with a variation on another cultural myth? Because. let's face it, we‘ve all sat there. swaying to the gentle rhythm of the rails. and let otrr imaginations wander . . .
Locomotive lust and human hypocrisy are the ingredients of Sn Relax. a ten- rnintrte short funded by the Scottish Film School and Scottish Television/Scottish Filrn Council‘s First Reel scheme. Written and directed by Hannah Robinson — previously art director on several student films north of the border — the filth finished its six- day shoot last week. alternating between location work on a private line
at Bo ness and a faithfully reconstructed carriage set in the wet of Edinburgh.
Robinson's treatment — scant dialogue. fast cuts between passenger reactions. inventive use of back projection — met with much approval as casting began. Julie Christie. Richard Jobson. Sandie Shaw and Jenny Seagrove were all supportive. but had other commitments; Marianne Faithfull dropped out of the lead female role only two weeks before shooting commenced due to recording ties in America. The part was eventtrally filled by local actress Marie Wallace. with Ali De Souza as her partner. and an assortment of others as passengers. including Scottish theatre veteran
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Last seen on screens tip here in a 'lirggurr three-patter. she spent six months last year in a London stage production of The Steumie. She has also been filming a new series of Red Dwarf back in the cast after being out for four series. and is writing a piece of her own. At the beginning of I993. a two-week trip to Los Angeles to visit a friend at UCLA expanded to a couple of months. during which she took acting classes. American style.
‘I wasn‘t looking for anything. really. other than experiencing it.‘ she admits. ‘People are incredibly professional over there on every level. I was a bit of a novelty. being Scottish. I played down the fact that I‘m an actress. because everyone you meet there has a “project” on the go and is into aeting.‘
Grogan's character -- a power-dressing trainee lawyer — is. like all of the passengers. a deliberate stereotype. ‘The whole thing works off clichés.‘ explains Hannah Robinson. who is aiming for a sort of controlled voyeurism. allowing the audience orin the glimpses that others would allow themselves if the real situation arose. ‘A newspaper story like this is a really good cultural indicator — people embellish it and it crosses the line frorn reality to fiction. The sympathy of the film lies on both sides; I'm not saying that sex on trains is cool. The audience see the human side but are also made to feel equally uncomfortable.‘
I‘.r(,,.oze4o¢,,, Dolina MacLellan and former Altered lrnages singer and Bill Forsyth regular Claire (irogan. The involvement of Grogan is quite fitting. as she was one of the celebrities who took part in the original launch ofthe First Reels scheme two years ago.
‘From an acting point of view. it's a very tricky thing because it's made up of strch short scctions.‘ she says. ‘My character is so pernickety that I've been behaving like a prat for a week and a half. Btrt it‘s easy to say yes to things that you like -~ and it's an excuse to come borne. because I don‘t get the chance to work up here as often as people might think.‘
Like the rest of the cast and crew, Grogan is offering her talents for free.
So Relax will screen at [/10 Edinburgh lnlenurlimrul Film Festival in August and /(Ilc’r (II the Augsburg Festival in Germany. A Scottish 72’lc’t'isimt brmu/t‘usl is scheduler/fur October.
“A STARTLING EPIC OF SEDUCTION
Brave, passionate and wildly beautiful”
Michael \Vilrnirrgrmi I ()5 x\\'(ll I I S I I\II S
“A MAGICAL LOVE STORY
Moving, visionary and original”
:1 33533:. 1" P/l TRICK BERGIN ANNE PAR/LL/IUI)‘ j/ISONSCOTTLEE ——~~-—~-—m A FILM BY
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HUMAN HE *’ T'T
FROM A chnoru or Ice, TO A LAND or FIRE... A Love THAT Knows NO BOUNDARIES . ' 6 . , . . . Pol ram - rumor) in F rust. HIM nrsrruamorts ' '
The List IX June I July I‘M} 13