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33 X AROUND THE SUN
UK: ICA Projects
Cast: Lars Rudolph, Eileen Walsh
Director: John Hardwick
UK: 80 mins
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong language
UK Release Date: 9 December 2005 (Limited Release - London, ICA)
UK film director John Hardwick's debut feature, 33 X AROUND THE SUN, was supported by Film London and shot on location around East London at night. Made on a shoe-string budget of only £28,000, 33 X AROUND THE SUN exemplifies the innovation and imagination that experimental British filmmaking continues to offer.
Based loosely on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, as Orpheus journeys into the underworld in search of his love, 33 X AROUND THE SUN follows the story of a man, 'H', (Lars Rudolph, RUN LOLA RUN, WERCKMEISTER HARMONIES) who wakes up one night in an apparently abandoned hospital and leaves to go in search of his home.
A surreal journey unfolds on the nocturnal streets of an unnamed city, where 'H' encounters a series of increasingly unusual characters, including insomniac dancer Ruth (Eileen Walsh), a cafe ranter, a dog with a plan, two cops from another dimension, and a jaded film crew that keeps disappearing.
Enigmatic, elliptical and with a sci-fi edge, this dreamlike journey only concludes when the various strands of the story come together and 'H' is finally allowed to reach his destination. Pushed and pulled in different directions along the way, by the conflicting demands of the strange characters he meets, he struggles to piece together a true picture of what is happening around him.
Magnificently out of step with current trends in British cinema, the final outcome for 33 x AROUND THE SUN is partially the result of it taking a rather unorthodox route into being. Initially financed by a small arts grant from Film London, intended to facilitate the production of a 15 minute short, the resulting forty-minute film seemed to suggest a bigger story. After consulting with the cast and crew it was decided that the film should be allowed to develop. The producer and director gathered together their own money, the cast and crew reunited, and the rest of the film was shot. Film London's LAFVA also provided completion funding.
Filmed over 14 days, but with a total production time of three years, 33 X AROUND THE SUN is a woozy, surreal picaresque that is difficult to categorise and has a flavour all of its own.