Remission

Brown, Christopher (2015) Remission. [Video]

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Abstract

'Remission' (19 mins, directed by Christopher Brown) is a psychological thriller, loosely adapted from 'The Pardoner’s Tale' by Geoffrey Chaucer, set in the desolate aftermath of the 1348-50 Black Death. When developing the project, I sought to draw out the tension betweenthe Pardoner’s Prologue, which shows the storyteller to be a morally dubious hypocrite, and the tale he tells – a parable of human greed in which three young men seek to find and punish ‘that traitor Death’. Today, we associate ‘remission’ with sickness, but from a fourteenth century perspective, this took on a moral dimension. Remission from sin – forgiveness – was a service a Pardoner would provide in return for cash, a kind of divine insurance policy (my other great influence here is film noir).

In the film I wanted to explore the degree to which it is possible to shed new light on the canonical text by suggesting its homoerotic subtext (Chaucer’s Pardoner is coded as having some form of sexual disorder) in a filmed adaptation. I was thinking of the AIDS epidemic when I wrote the script; the ways in which gay victims of the virus were blamed for their suffering by a moralizing mainstream. Male sexuality drives the story, in which contact with infected blood means death, and 'Remission' seeks to displace discourses surrounding the AIDS epidemic onto a visualized, affective landscape. A range of distancing devices ask the audience to consider subtext, and to question the relationship between morality and fatalism – to what degree do the men deserve their respective fates?

'Remission' was distributed by Peccadillo Pictures as part of their 'Boys on Film' collection, and is available to rent on platforms such as BFI Player (British Film Institute), FilmDoo, and Vimeo-On-Demand. Prior to that, 'Remission' was nominated for both the International Iris Prize and the Best of British award at the 2014 Iris Prize Festival in Cardiff, a noted LGBT film event. It went on to screen at the Borderlines Film Festival as part of their Festival of British Cinema in Hay-On-Wye, and in Belfast as part of the PoutFest tour.

Item Type: Video
Keywords: LGBT film, screen sexuality, landscape, Chaucer, film production, masculinity
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics > P0087 Communication. Mass media
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion pictures
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Christopher Brown
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2018 15:21
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2019 10:21
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/78554
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