The Feast (2021)

The Feast
Director: Lee Haven Jones
Writer: Roger Williams
Cast: Annes Elwy, Nia Roberts, Steffan Cennydd, Sion Alun Davies, Julian Lewis Jones, Rhodri Meilir, Lisa Palfrey, Caroline Berry
Part of: SLASH Filmfestival
Seen on: 26.9.2021
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Plot:
Glenda (Nia Roberts) has to prepare a fancy dinner for her husband Gwyn (Julian Lewis Jones), a politician. The two hope to arrange a deal over dinner with their expected guests. To ensure that everything runs smoothly, Glenda has hired Cadi (Annes Elwy) for help. Cadi is withdrawn and quiet, but she gets to work. But the atmosphere in the house is strange, and there seems to be something brewing that has nothing to do with the food.

The Feast is a wonderful looking, and also political film that manages to build the perfect atmosphere of something just being (more or less slightly) off in this house. I really enjoyed it.

Cadi (Annes Elwy) kneeling in the grass.

The Feast was entirely shot in Welsh, and in the talk with the audience after the film, Lee Haven Jones emphasized how important it was to him that this is not an English film, nor a British one, but a very Welsh one, building from Welsh mythology. Given the, let’s say contentious, history between England and Wales, this alone makes the film a very political one. But there is also a political core to the story that talks about exploitation of nature and greed. Those in-story political elements remained a little superficial, though, I thought – the film was more preoccupied with other things.

The parts it pays more attention to work beautifully. The whole film is saturated with a feeling of wrongness that is incredibly unsettling. Cadi’s strangeness is obvious from the start, her agenda remains unclear until the very end, though. But it’s more the family she works for that seems so completely inauthentic, off, wrong, especially Gwyn and the two sons, Guto (Steffan Cennydd) and Gweirydd (Sion Alun Davies). Glenda seems to have retained some rightness, but later-on we see whether that’s true or if she’s just a better actor than the men in her life. (Speaking of good actors: Roberts and Elwy are both amazing.)

Cadi (Annes Elwy) and Glenda (Nia Roberts) preparing dinner.

The cinematography is also fantastic, working the house for everything it has, as well as the nature shots. It underscores the unsettled feeling and looks pretty while it does so. [No, I will not write a feast for the eyes pun.] And the soundtrack does its part, too. It made it easy to fall into the atmosphere of the film and feel the tension that comes from both identifying with and distrusting Cadi.

The final twist that reveals who Cadi really is was a little disappointing, though, I have to admit. It felt just a little too stale. But other than that, I really enjoyed The Feast (and hearing Welsh).

Cadi (Annes Elwy) pushing vegetables on a skewer with an absent-minded expression.

Summarizing: left me content.

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