Edward and Isabella is a remarkable film, specially interesting because it was conceived and filmed entirely in Western Australia.
Writer/ director/ producer Adam Morris, already a successful author and musician, decided to make a film when Covid cut short his plans for 2020. No matter that he had never made a film before – he learnt the technical tricks from the internet.
Edward and Isabella features two long-term lovers as they contemplate the future of their relationship. Will they be forever partners, or has their time together run its course?
The film was shot over 18 days, featuring spectacular locations in and around Albany, with wineries in the Porongurups region, and Bluff Knoll, highest peak in the Stirling Ranges.
A key to its success is the close rapport between the two key characters, Chloe Hurst as Isabella and Daniel Barwick as Edward.
Hurst is best known for roles in the Shane Black crime comedy, Nice Guys, opposite Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, and the Amy Schumer comedy, I Feel Pretty. She is normally based in Hollywood but Covid brought her back to Perth to be with her parents.
Barwick, a relative newcomer to film, also comes from Perth.
Morris sets the scene with Isabella talking to her therapist (Renato Fabretti): “I want to know if I want to get out of the relationship…I don’t know.”
His script is sensitive and spare, leaving a lot of space for the characters to fill out their roles.
We never learn how long they have been together, or even if they are married, but it becomes clear that she is uncertain of their future together and that he is aware she is unsure and uncertain.
They have a weekend away in the South-West, and as always with locally-made films it is intriguing to try and pick the identity of the picturesque locations. Bluff Knoll in particular is stark and dramatic.
The couple are on screen in close-up, separately or together, for almost the entire film, with only brief shots of the therapist, and they are impressively assured in their roles.
Music by Jonathon Jie Hong Yang adds to the atmosphere.
The film has already had some success on the festival circuit. It won the Best Film award at the 2021 WA Screen Culture Awards and picked up best film and best director awards in Japan, Sweden, Czechoslovakia, France and Italy.
Morris is now working on his next film, with shooting due to start this month in Albany Bicton and Mt Barker.
Edward and Isabella opens Thursday , August 11 at Luna Leederville.
Watch the trailer…