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When wishing for a baby rocks a relationship

Roger (David Verdaguer), Kat (Natalia Tena) and Eva (Oona Chaplin) in Anchor and Hope.

Roger (David Verdaguer), Kat (Natalia Tena) and Eva (Oona Chaplin) in Anchor and Hope.

In Anchor and Hope, Spanish director Carlos Marques-Marcet explores what happens to relationships when squeezed into the close quarters of a London canal houseboat.

At the beginning of the film, Eva (Oona Chaplin, granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin) and Kat (Natalia Tena) seem quite happily in love. It is not until Kat’s friend from Barcelona, Roger (David Verdaguer), arrives in London that their houseboat first hits the proverbial rocky waters. During a night of heavy drinking, Eva confesses that she wants a baby but Kat is not too keen on the idea. But before they know it, Roger volunteers to be the sperm donor.

Marques-Marcet’s film examines how the planning for a baby can tear a relationship apart, especially when one partner has not completely bought into the idea. For Eva, the decision seems to be partially driven by her ticking biological clock but also by the need to settle down and become a grown-up. Eva wants a more grounded lifestyle with security and consistency. Sure, a baby is a commitment but it’s also the next logical step oftheir relationship.

Kat, however, enjoys the freedom of their current lifestyle. Nothing has anchored them down to any specific location or careers, and Kat would be content floating aimlessly through life with Eva. Their cost of living is extremely low and they do not seem to have many worries or stresses. Their biggest concern is having to move their boat every so often to avoid punishment by the city. To pour salt into Eva’s wounds, Roger – who is essentially the straight-male version of Kat – is perfectly willing to sacrifice his heavy partying, nomadic playboy ways to help out with the baby.

The moral of the story seems to be that while opposites may sometimes attract, they aren’t always well-suited for raising a baby together. From more of a socioeconomic perspective, Anchor and Hope tackles the difficulties of maintaining a stable relationship while living ‘off the grid’. And while the story is about two lesbians, the message transcends sexuality and gender.

The uniqueness of the London canals as the primary setting establishes several clever plot devices for Anchor and Hope. The houseboat visualises Eva and Kat’s nomadic lifestyle, while also accentuating their romantic tension. The constant moving of the boat to various parts of the canals reflects the changing tones of Eva and Kat’s ever-evolving relationship. It also breaks up the narrative into different episodes, with each docking location representing a new scenario.

Other screenings/events today

At St James Cavalier:
Somewhere in Tonga at 1pm
Don’t Be Nice at 3pm
The Return at 5pm
Welcome to Sodom at 7pm
Of Fathers and Sons at 9.15pm

At Embassy Cinemas:
Children of the Snow Land at 2pm
Mug at 4pm
Cobain at 6pm
Boys Cry at 8.30pm

At Valletta Campus Theatre:
The Belly of an Architect at noon
Of Love and Law at 2.30pm
Tafxnaf at 4.30pm
Malta to Motor City at 6.30pm
Black Mother at 8.45pm

A masterclass on creative documentary subgenres

Journalist and documentary producer Carol Nahra will lead a masterclass on documentary-making at St James Cavalier’s Music Room in Valletta today at 5pm.

During the session, she will examine a range of creative documentary subgenres and discuss how documentary makers today are pushing boundaries to tell stories. In particular, she will look at how Scotsman John Grierson’s definition of the documentary as “the creative treatment of actuality” plays out in contemporary international documentary-making.

For tickets, visit https://www.vallettafilmfestival.com .

Anchor and Hope will be screened at Pjazza Teatru Rjal, Valletta, today at 9pm. For tickets and information about other films showing at the Valletta Film Festival, visit www.vallettafilmfestival.com. The festival, which runs until Sunday, is supported by the Arts Council Malta.

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