When Bait was released in 2019, it arrived as one of the most distinctive and idiosyncratic films in years – a Cornish drama shot on 16mm in black-and-white, which its writer, director, editor and cinematographer, Mark Jenkin, processed by hand. The results felt both old-fashioned and utterly modern, with its story of gentrification and a community in flux – and now Jenkin is back with another film that could only have come from him. His Bait follow-up is Enys Men (pronounced ‘mane’), the Cornish phrase for ‘Stone Island’ – and it finds Jenkin once again making very particular choices about his filmmaking equipment.
“It’s set in 1973,” he tells Empire in The British New Wave issue. “I wanted it to, at least, have the feel of a 1970s horror film. We shot it with the kit somebody shooting a horror film in the 1970s would have.” That means the Bolex H16 camera is out again, and the audio will once again be post-synced – though, with its tale of an isolated wildlife volunteer (returning Bait star Mary Woodvine) experiencing weirdness around a Bronze Age standing stone, this one is light on dialogue.
“The thematic centre of the story was the idea of the human influence that we have on our environment,” Jenkin explains. “How every action has an effect and every action has a cause that is part of a big chain of existence. That’s all about time moving backwards, as well as forwards.”
Read Empire’s full Enys Men story in The British New Wave issue – on sale Thursday 10 June, and available to pre-order online here. Enys Men is coming to UK cinemas in 2022.