In the new British indie drama Hide and Seek, four young Londoners seek a utopian lifestyle in an English country house. But the balance is upset by the arrival of an outsider.
Jonathan Melville spoke to the film’s director and co-writer Joanna Coates, producer/co-writer/actor Daniel Meltz, and actress Rea Mole at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.
For director and co-writer Joanna Coates, the premise of Hide and Seek was about an exploration of a potential lifestyle outside of the mainstream.
“Hide and Seek is about four young people who are disillusioned, for various reasons, who run away together to try to start an unusual utopia,” she says. “It’s not a dystopia but it is provocative and plays with different ideas about what’s possible, and what’s permissible.”
For producer and co-writer Daniel Meltz, who also appears in the film, there is a clear contrast in the film’s themes.
“This film is this merging of some beautiful images that deal with nature and deal with joy, which I see as daylight stuff, with night-time stuff, sexual dynamics and the way that they play and sneak around in the night time when things start to get weird,” he says. “When I watch the film it’s so exciting because I see that it’s my film and Joanna’s film at the same time, it’s bigger than we could have done independently.”
Coates adds that it was their intention to make a film that straddled the usual genre conventions in this respect.
“I think it was really important to us that the film explores the softer side of what people need in terms of play, and what’s seen as the more taboo side in terms of sex, love, need for closeness,” she says. “It was essential that they were both represented in the film because they’re both true. Often one seems to invalidate the other – you’ll have a film which is quite twee, or you’ll have an erotic drama. There’s nothing in between, but the more exciting thing was to bring them together because that’s adult – or young adult – life.”
Rea Mole, who plays Leah in Hide and Seek, believes it was a challenging but rewarding project to take on.
“I think what’s really interesting is the fact the film is about these characters exploring different facets of themselves, and having permission to do that,” she says. “With contemporary young adult life, you often feel like you’re restricted with certain identities and impulses that you’re able to explore. Often, the restriction is yourself, but there’s obviously societal pressures. In this film, the fact that the characters have space to see all the spectrum of colours that exist, the vulnerability, the sexual drive and impulses, the play and the make-believe. I think that really resonates as an actress and as a young woman. That was the invitation for all of us in the cast – we knew we had to jump in with both feet, or it would fail. We had to take that risk.”
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