God's Own Country

God's Own Country ★★★★

i was lucky enough to attend a screening with a director q&a afterwards, in which francis lee revealed that one of his biggest influences for this film was pretty woman to everyone's delight.

other highlights:
- the sounds of the yorkshire countryside are very key to the film; gheorghe has his own special wind sound that follows him through the film and remains after he has left, like an audio haunting
- bird sounds in the film are also significant - the curlew is associated with spring and renewal, and the swallow is a migratory bird that returns for spring
- lee consciously avoided sweeping landscape shots (there's only one in the film) and focused instead on how the land affects those who live on it
- deidre/nan is based on multiple women in lee's family and the dynamic between deidre and johnny is especially close to his heart
- the two leads spent six weeks working on farms (one of them was lee's father's farm) and actually performed most of the tasks onscreen; quite a few were shot in one take
- lee thinks gay romances like moonlight and call me by your name are gaining more momentum because right now there's a plethora of same-sex romance films that are "invested in the truth of love and emotion" while het romances are mainly comedies now (lmao)
- the xenophobia that gheorghe experiences parallels johnny's own isolation
- lee was more interested in exploring the vulnerability of love than matters of sexuality
- lee was surprised that almost every american interviewer wanted to ask about the film's explicit scenes given that he's "seen more in game of thrones" and the johnny/gheorghe sex scenes are key to demonstrating johnny's character growth, since he is unable to articulate the changes he experiences
- early cuts of the film were screened at hyde park picture house, which is literally walking distance from where i live and is also the most beautiful old cinema

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