Up-and-coming writer/director/editor Tupaq Felber premiered his feature debut Tides at BFI London Film Festival 2017. Gorgeously shot on black and white digital film, it’s an honest and touching ensemble piece that revolves around Jon (Jon Foster) who has recently suffered a shattering personal loss, that which is only really hinted at in the first shot of him at the very beginning. He and his three best mates Zooby (Jamie Zubairi), Red (Robyn Isaac) and Simon (Simon Meacock) decide to rent a massive old boat to cruise along the canals of southern England.
The subtle nuances and delicate balance of pain hidden beneath the surface of euphoric drunkenness makes this buddy film one hell of a debut. The sundrenched shots of trees, small waves and bystanders as the boat slowly rides along the canals are glorious. Felber’s interesting camera angles and variety of shot sizes change quite a bit throughout the movie, without being too distracting. Paul O’Callaghan’s cinematography is lovely, especially the night scenes on the boat deck lit from light inside the cabin.
Jon Foster and Robyn Isaac give performances that reveal their characters’ insecurities and strong platonic feelings for one another. The dialogue feels almost too real, with partially belligerent friends talking over one another as if it’s been like that for 40 years. It makes sense that the four actors co-wrote the script with Felber. Even the swearing seems perfectly placed and natural, never too many words or too few. The original score by Kas-tro enhances the mood without distracting from the dialogue. At times it’s contemplative, melancholic, uplifting and at moments a mix of the three.
Felber’s future in filmmaking looks bright. Tides has an authenticity to it that is hard to come by. Rather than recalling other mumblecore movies, Levinson’s Diner and Kasdan’s The Big Chill come to mind, portraying friendships with all their ups and downs. This canal trip makes one long for the complications that only come with one’s closest friends.
Tides does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2017 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.
Watch the trailer for Tides here: