[NYC Independent Film Festival] Provenance (2017) - Reviewed

Provenance is set to screen at NYCIFF

Provenance (2017), written and directed by Ben Hecking, is a British drama set against the picturesque town of Entrecasteaux, Provence, France and the surrounding sublime countryside. It's a film that dramatizes the tragic romance between an older man and a much younger woman. It is a story full of twists and turns which fuel the narrative creating dramatic tension, and climaxes in the denouement.

Hecking weaves together many visual elements to create a poignant film where love meets misery, shame and heartbreak. He juxtaposes the non-linear narrative of the romance against the burning and simmering tensions between the lovers and the jilted lover. Close ups and medium angle shots are interspersed with wide angle shots and aerial shots set against the idyllic town and countryside. The film is beautifully shot in color, and the character Sophia is beautifully lit heightening her natural beauty. She is captivating to watch caught in the luminous light of Provence. Hecking frames and contextualizes the tumultuous love story against the idyllic French countryside which gives the film a depth and complexity. His well-crafted storyline evokes the Electra complex and he plays with its sinister connotations. Their romance is played out to devastating consequences. The soundtrack beautifully complements the film and is integral to the storyline helping to set the tone.

The drama is superbly acted made up of a stellar cast where each of the main characters is allowed to shine and play complex scenes. Christian McKay's portrayal of John is intense and nuanced and he is equally matched in the performance of his love interest, Sophia, played by the talented Charlotte Vega. Hecking creates an intimate portrait of John, a burnt out, talented artist passing his time in EntreCasteaux who is fixated on his infatuation with a mysterious young woman. The talented Charlotte Vega plays a free spirited young woman caught up in her romance with John, an older man. Vega's performance is nuanced and complex infusing her role with erotic sexuality, vulnerability, innocence, charm, intelligence, and beauty. Harry Macqueen plays Peter, Sophia's former love interest.

It is a well-crafted film that artistically explores the theme of romantic love and sexual longing and desire, and the tragic consequences when we are oblivious or overlook a person’s provenance. It’s an intriguing film, and the title of the film is apropos to the text of the film. I highly recommend it. 

Provenance is screening at NYCIFF on May 8th. 

-Stefan Chiarantano