Enys Men (Mark Jenkin, 2022) ... a wildlife volunteer's daily observations of a rare flower turn into a metaphysical journey that forces her as well as the viewer to question what is real and what is a nightmare.
Enys Men is a (fictional?) island off the Cornish coast. The (above) summary of the 'plot' (there isn't one) makes it sound like a supernatural thriller (it's not thrilling).
The title of film should turn the viewer's attention to the place, and its past. The characters in the present are mainly there as a framework on which to hang sketches of lives that might have been lived in an historic Cornwall.
Without a media kit, I had to rely on the full list of cast and crew to get some idea of what I was supposed to be seeing, and unfortunately, I've forgotten most of what it said as I'm looking at my computer screen and not that of the film. What I do remember is a group of miners, down a pit looking grim-faced, and another group of boatmen. A third group was of what IMDb suggests were bal maidens (you look it up; I've done all the work so far).
Each of these groups is presented in a static formation, looking at the camera (fictionally, at the nameless main character), as if in an accusatory way, perhaps intending to suggest they should not have been forgotten.
Said main character is identified in the end credits (but not until then) as The Volunteer. She lives alone on the island; her job appears to be to care for one single flowing plant! She is of course visited (that's the 'plot') by one visitor who appears to be 'real' (The Boatman) and some who appear not to be real (The Girl and the Preacher, and the groups mentioned).
The cinematography is not done by an amateur, but shot to look as though it was, in 1973 (when the film is set), on 16mm, and with awkward focus-pulling and edits that look too slow. The actors, however, are more-or-less amateurs: The Preacher is played by The Volunteer's father, as is The Girl played by The Boatman's daughter.
The film was apparently shot on the Cornish mainland, in West Penwith, at the site of a former mine. I don't suppose you would set up a mine on a small island.
In summary: it wasn't a complete waste of 96 min.
See also Mark Jenkin's earlier film: Bait, 2019. (I haven't, but it got him attention.)
Mark Jenkin’s ‘ecosophical’ Cornish folk horror Enys Men to screen at Cornish Mining World Heritage Site venues
Garry Gillard | reviews | New: 15 September, 2023 | Now: 15 September, 2023