Junkhearts is the debut feature from British filmmaker Tinge Krishnan, previously most known for her brilliant short Shadowscan (2001), which won Best Film awards at BAFTA and Raindance. Read on for a synopsis of Junkhearts, an interview with Tinge and special offer for Nest Members in Manchester, York and Greenwich areas!
Junkhearts (UK 2011 99min). Eddie Marsan (Vera Drake, Happy-Go-Lucky, Warhorse) stars as ex-soldier Frank, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder due to an extremely disturbing incident in his past, which still causes him hallucinations and nightmares. He lives a solitary life estranged from his wife and daughter, sitting alone in his flat and making regular trips to the corner shop for miniature bottles of spirits. Frank is miserable until he meets Lynette (Candese Reid, winner of Best British Newcomer Award at this year’s BFI London Film Festival), a homeless teenager who appears also to be vulnerable and alone. After Frank provides Lynette with a place to stay, the two develop a bond and begin to heal one another through their burgeoning friendship. However, this new peaceful order is soon thrown into chaos when Lynette’s drug dealer boyfriend Darren (Tom Sturridge, The Boat That Rocked, On The Road) comes to stay. The film also stars Romola Garai (Atonement, BBC’sThe Hour) as Christine, a single mother inhabiting a very different London world and spiralling in a crisis of her own that will intersect with Frank’s. Krishnan’s work deals with urban issues and the emotional fallout behind the headlines, using a collection of intriguing characters to draw us into a desperate world in which a redemptive light glimmers like a faint but promising exit sign.
Synopsis by Sonia Zadurian.
BEV were thrilled to be able to speak to Tinge Krishnan:
Hi Tinge, and many congratulations on your debut feature, which we’ve found harrowing, complex and brilliantly made.
You trained and worked as a doctor for three years before leaving medicine to make films – how did you take this decision? Is filmmaking something you’d always desired to do?
I always wrote and directed at school. When I was working as a doctor a realised that my creative side wasn’t getting enough time to express itself fully. Also being surrounded by death made me aware that life is short and if I had the instinct to follow a passion I should do it before it’s too late.
Your debut short Shadowscan won BAFTA and Raindance prizes and is an amazing piece of work, straddling the genres of horror, drama and abstract/artist’s film. Could you tell us how you conceived of, planned and made your first professional film?
Shadowscan was based in part on an incident in which a colleague committed suicide. I wrote the script in response to the BFI New Directors’ scheme. I was on the verge of giving up filmmaking when we got the call that it had been shortlisted
What a cast you’ve brought together for JUNKHEARTS! We’d be fascinated to know how Eddie Marsan, Romola Garai, Tom Sturridge, Bhasker Patel and Candese Reid got involved.
We worked with an amazing casting agent called Chloe Emmerson and the producer Karen Katz was determined that we should go for our dream cast
Our feelings of sympathy and antipathy towards Frank (Marsan) and Lynette (Reid) fluctuate during the film, making them both into rich and complicated characters whom we watch sliding between despair and joy at different stages. Was this in the script or did it develop from the actors’ work/improvisation? What were your intentions with these characters?
It was a mixture of both. We workshopped the script and this brought to life their dynamics. The scene doing martial arts was improvised – my own martial arts teacher came in to teach Eddie and Candese martial arts.
Junkhearts is a excellent piece of British socio-drama, dealing with the issues of cuckooing, drug dealing and military PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Do you see yourself as a new British female voice to carry the torch from Alan Clarke and Ken Loach, or is this just the first of a diverse portfolio of features?
I would say it is an early installment of a diverse portfolio.. I admire Michael Winterbottom’s embracing of a range of work and I feel an affinity with the work of David Fincher – that’s another direction I would like to move in.
What’s next for you?
I am in development on a really exciting adaptation of a best-selling thriller. There are two exciting female characters and a love story as well as a violent element too. It will be a groundbreaking and empowering piece for women – it also touches on the powerful theme of domestic abuse but not in a social drama way. It’s more like Silence of the Lambs meets Taxi Driver (but imagine Robert de Niro as a woman…). I’ve also been sent some exciting scripts from LA so watch this space..
Many thanks Tinge, we shall indeed!
With a big thank you to distributors Soda Pictures, we’re offering BEV Nest Members the opportunity to win a pair of tickets to watch the film followed by a Q&A with Tinge Krishnan at Manchester Cornerhouse on Tues 22 November (our Nest winner went along last night), at York City Screen on Tues 29 November and at Greenwich Picturehouse on Thurs 1 December.
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