Wrinkly Film - Mike Naylor (Spain)


Black Forest Gateau

newspaper reviews

Here are a couple of the reviews that followed the movie premiere at the Salón Varietés Theatre in Fuengirola, Spain.

Review by Allan Tee - REM FM 'Movies and You'

Most of us aspire to either "having a book" inside us, or in the case of Mike Naylor, a "movie script". He was convinced that he had "a director's touch" in him too - to bring his ideas to fruition.

So that is precisely what he did, with a truly locally produced and shot movie called Black Forest Gateau.

On Saturday 13th September, the film was premiered to an expectant public, along with cast and crew, at the Salón Varietés in Fuengirola. An ideal venue for such an occasion, as the majority of the acting parts and production crew in the film are regular contributors to that theatre's productions.

So, what did I think of their efforts? Here is a very sharply written script with very well developed characters. It clearly demonstrates Naylor's inspirational casting preferences in his role as writer and director. The film was of course, made with a very limited budget, but you would not know this as it has extremely good production values. The editing, lighting and superb Dolby Surround (which received Dolby Lab's official approval) are all technical achievements in themselves.

The story has some nice threads, is witty and, if UK television were ever thinking of a "Last of Summer Wine" type programme set in the sun, this movie would provide a very useful template.

The unravelling and the occasional twists and turns do work well. A deliberate slow pace can be a curse, but here, the strength lies in the very sure footed build up to a deafening crescendo! It is far from amateur dramatics at work here. Cunning editing and deft set pieces have given Black Forrest Gateau a very distinct identity.

A treat for all ex-pats? Most certainly. A wider audience? Possibly.

The occasion at the Salón Varietés was certainly a night of celebration for all concerned. The reception, ultimately pouring out onto the cobbled thoroughfare outside the theatre, buzzed with banter and congrats, copious pats on backs and hugs and kisses galore! I spoke with most of the lead cast and much of the crew too and there is already talk of a sequel.

For those keen to experience the delights waiting in Black Forest Gateau, the film is in competition at this year's Marbella International Film Festival. It will be screened at 7pm, Friday October 3rd, at the Gran Marbella Cinema in Puerto Banus!

Allan Tee, 18th September 2008

Review by Roland Quesnel - Freelance Journalist

World Film Premiere at the Salón Varietés.

The Salón has been known over the years for auspicious events and appearances, and it's come a long way from the disused cinema it once was thirty years ago. By turning the clock back, the Salón was again transformed into a cinema, if only for one night. The event: auspicious indeed. A world film premiere no less, but one with special resonance for all at the Salón. This was the first public showing of the full length feature film "Black Forest Gateau", whose cast were drawn from, or dragged, cajoled, inveigled upon and press-ganged from the Salón's own coterie of stalwart actors.

BFG, as it is referred to by its director, Mike Naylor, was shot and produced entirely locally in Fuengirola and Mijas. A semi-retired television sound and post-production engineer, Mike gave birth to this project some two years ago. Inspired by the brilliance of current digital technology and the deep existential question of how do retirees pass all that time in the glorious winter sun, Wrinkly Film was born.

Mike wrote the script and, armed with a state-of –the-art high definition video camera, he recruited his merry band of Salón actors and various technicians and cameramen, and started filming. Then stopped. A lead actor was forced to drop out (wrinklies being the least robust segment of the population) and it appeared the project was doomed. Six months later, like some demented grumbling phoenix, the production rose again and was finished, staggering through numerous crew changes, bad weather, and the odd fine for lack of a filming permit. This all finally finished up being projected onto the silver screen via digital projector on Friday night last.

The place was packed. It even had its own film trailer. How much was expected of the film is hard to gauge. No ex-patriot retired person of this coast to my knowledge has ever gone out and funded, written, directed and edited a feature film on our doorstep. BFG confounded expectations. What came up on screen was a film in all senses of the word. It was very funny, the characters were convincing and entertaining, the story wound its way to its denouement and life returned to its sleepy and bumbling norm. There are some great gags, much cynical poking of fun at the woes of the World, and some great set pieces. The opening scene in a post-office looks for all the World like Scunthorpe on a wet Thursday, but is actually El Coto, Mijas Costa. Digital wizardry! The secret meeting is off the scale in its wackiness, and the actual eating of Black Forest Gateau pulls off one of the most hilarious visual jokes this cinephile has ever seen. The quality of production would have been envied by every TV station on this coast, and some bigger ones back home. Sound, image, editing, everything was up there where it needed to be, this was real cinema, albeit DIY.

The film is well worth catching, and can now be seen at the Marbella International Film Festival on 3rd October, where it is competing. Good luck BFG.

Rolland Quesnel, 18th September 2008