More than a hundred people crammed Into Coast and Country at Liskeard on Friday night for the eagerly anticipated premiere of Relative , Anthony Butler’s (Mr B’s) new film, featuring Local surfers Jak and Ed Smith. Shot mainly on breaks near to the Smith Brother’s family home in rural South East Cornwall with additional footage from some gems from both coasts of Devon & Cornwall, the film has been eighteen months in the making.
Relative marks a departure from Butler’s previous works, which were driven by high performance, adrenaline- fuelled clips of British pro surfers pushing the limits. “I wanted to do something different this time” says Butler.
The film follows the life and path of the Smith brothers, often surfing below the radar on waves that rarely show up in mainstream surf media. The profound message is one of love, stoke and soul. Relative is about home, family and having fun, and a powerful reminder of the capacity of surfing to reinforce and underpin those cornerstones of life. It’s a film that will have surfers whooping and give non- surfers an insight into why.
Backed up by an electric sound track, Butler sets the tone with classic cinematography, shooting through the ruined windows of derelict stone buildings, letting cameras loose on zip wires through woodland, time-lapsing a sky crammed with stars over the coastal settlements of South Cornwall, and reminding us of the local heritage of fishermen, fairies, miners, and minstrels .
We’re treated to very-close-up, barrel shots, enhanced by clever use of in-wetsuit microphones. The boys’ whoops and shouts of encouragement, and wave-impact noises, impart an intense intimacy to the action. The drama and joy of getting into a barrel of any size are played out in such proximity as to suggest that we are right there with them, bodysurfing, mindsurfing, and pulling in.
This is a romance between surfers and waves, and a bond between brothers. Drama and adventure build subtly as we are drawn into the life of hiking, camping, and dawn patrols. Relative is laced with comedy; whether through hilarious wipe-outs or a subliminal ribbing of the pro surf scene via spoof aerials and claims.
We are treated to glimpses of the other- worldly existence that surf fanatics inhabit in their search of empty waves: we join the boys as they paddle after dusk into a local Harbour. Unbeknownst to the viewer, cheering soccer fans packed into pubs and glued to the big screen, are oblivious to the two wet-suited figures, stealing past like smugglers just feet away. One of many beautiful juxtapositions that Butler has crafted into this mini epic.
Relative has already been selected for the 2012 Waimea film festival and judging from the reaction of the audience on Friday it’s going to be a stepping stone for Mr B as his Our World is Blue Project moves on to the next chapter. Watch the film. Surfer or not you will end up smiling.
Relative Soundtrack compilation album will be available on itunes and other platforms in January 2013.
The full film will be available to view online at www.relativethemovie.com