Deep in the middle of a French forest an apparently normal and affluent middle class couple live under the base of a fallen tree. John forages for food trying to keep both him and his wife Karen alive, both shun modern conveniences and other people. Why are they living in these squalid circumstances, what has driven them to live this feral existence?
The film stars Scottish actors Paul Higgins as John with Kate Dickie, who along with director and writer Tom Geens were in attendance at the screening of the movie at this years Glasgow Film Festival to take part in a Q&A, playing the part of Karen. The other two actors involved in this four hander are Jerome Kircher as Andre and Corinne Masiero who plays his wife Celine.
Tom Geens told us that the strange premise for Couple in a Hole (2015) was built up over a long period of time. Kate Dickie explained that she was drawn to the part of Karen because she felt it was a great love story - albeit different from your standard Mills and Boon idea of romance - where a husband looks after his mentally ill wife whose trauma has been brought on by the death of a child in tragic circumstances. Karen has forced John to live this animal type existence with the couple living live out what can only be described as ‘nature documentary’ with you the audience being invited to observe their strange world. Karen can't live in the real world without her son but John begins to realise that he can't go on living like this and he starts to forge a relationship with a local farmer.
This is an intense film and as Kate explained it was a physically difficult acting experience including having to loose a lot of weight and to go without food during the shoot which went on for a longer period than expected because Paul Higgins broke his ankle during the early part of the filming. Geens has drawn great performances from his actors especially Dickie and Higgins with the film maintaining its own distinct look and sound. My only small grumble is the slightly intrusive soundtrack that rears up from time to time. This film certainly deserved a general release allowing it to be enjoyed by a wider audience than these found on the festival circuit.