Friday 2 October 2020

FILM REVIEW: Untold 1: Caroline's Story - Manchester Camerata.

In their never-ending quest to be just that little bit different (in a good way!), and always open to new challenges and experiences, one of Britain's most innovative and experimental classical orchestras, The Manchester Camerata, have turned to the medium of film for their next project. Titled simply 'Untold', the orchestra share personal and life-changing stories through both film and music. They have all been filmed during lockdown in Manchester's historic and beautiful Gorton Monastery, and the first of this series is now live and available to watch for free online. It tells the story of Caroline, the Camerata's principal violinist, who has had to contend with society's disapproval and censure because she is both a Christian and lesbian. 

In this half-hour film directed by Paul Sapin, which combines the music of Haydn, Arvo Part, Strauss and Harbison, with the spoken word of Scottish poet and laureate Jackie Kay, the slow-moving and intimate nature of the film allows us to reflect, understand, acknowledge and relate to Caroline's internal struggle and to emote with her. And even though the music and the filming are pulling your heart-strings, you are able to react and respond in your own way, which is highly commendable.

Along with five of her fellow Camerata string players, the high ceilings and empty space of Gorton Monastery act as an accoustic sounding board for the plaintive sounds of the string sextet, mirroring musically Caroline's inner narrative, and Salford University Chancellor Kay provides aural support with her sympathetic poetry.

There is something about the openness and simplicity of this film which draws you in. I think this is something which can also be said of Manchester Camerata in general, they are always at the forefront of innovation and yet, it is always seemingly simple, accessible, unfussy, and unceremonious.

Reviewer - Matthew Dougall
on - 1/10/20

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