Last night, TQS attended the premeire screening of Jon Sander’s latest film venture – Late September. The film is based around the birthday of a middle-aged man and the 24 hour aftermath of a celebration that his wife, who he has been married to for 40 years, has organised. As the day and night progresses, old rifts, new relationships and secrets emerge amongst the group of friends with the underlying tensions in the marriage of the main couple coming to the brim.
The film battles between trying to communicate a poignant message about the relationships of the older generation without trying to simply position itself as a snapshot into the life of an ordinary middle-aged couple who have simply fallen out of love. Where the problem arises is that the cast are completely improvised, with no definitive script, just an understanding of their characters and the general story line structure. To communicate any message to an audience – is this the best way of doing it? If the film is simply supposed to be an insight into the ordinary using the snapshot method, then why would it go to the lengths of having the ending that it did? (don’t worry – no spoilers here).
Where this film deserves credit is in the raw and unforgiving way that it showcases the lives of this post-war generation. It makes the film relatable to pretty much anyone who views it, as we have all experienced some form of heartache or separation. Each character could easily be associated to someone in our lives too – a trait that is much easier for a small independent cinema to showcase, as opposed to the bigger budget Hollywood blockbusters, try as they might. “We believe we have proved that it is possible to make a feature film of quality with a minimal budget and an exceptionally tight shooting schedule” commented Jon Sanders.
In need of some polishing and a little direction, Jon Sander’s Late September will open at ICA and at selected cinemas nationwide from 15 June.
Review by Aaron Huckett