The revelation of the 1996 Cork Film Festival was an unheralded, unexpected treat: November Afternoon, directed by John Carney and Tom Hall, an astonishing assured and stylish urban feature film, shot with great flair in black and white on video hi-8. Michael McElhatton, Jayne Snow, Mark Doherty and Tristan Gribbin are the leading players in a tragi-comic story of deceit, lust and incest between two middle-class couples over a weekend in Dublin. The influence of American, dialogue-driven independent movies is apparent, and while many Irish films demonstrate an awkwardness with the rhythms of contemporary vernacular speech, the performances in November Afternoon have a loose, natural style that recalls the work of John Cassavetes. November Afternoon puts many recent attempts at contemporary Irish urban cinema to shame, operating on a shooting budget which amounts to a tiny fraction of most ‘low-budget’ films.
Black and white,