The crowded hospitality bar in Main Street, Park City,
temporary home of hordes of journalists and visiting filmmakers
at the Sundance Film Festival, may not be the obvious place to
find Welsh director Kevin Allen. Allen, whose first directorial
feature screened at the prestigious Festival, is finding the
whole thing a bit hard to take. "It's a crazed place,
really, sort of like a piranha attack. I'm not a great
networker," the one time documentary director explains. But
here, he's on a mission to extol the virtues of his first
narrative feature film, a film that the Americans don't know how
to take. "It's not conventional and at all times pleasant,
so they're a bit quizzical about what we're trying to do."
Twin Town is a black and anarchy-laced comedy that takes an
inside-out look at the residents of the Welsh seaside town of
Swansea, a gritty place once described by poet Dylan Thomas as
"an ugly lovely town." Living in one of the town's
trailer parks is Fatty Lewis and his dubious children Adie, who
works in a sleazy massage parlour, and his psychotic,
car-stealing twin boys Jeremy and Julian. Other main characters
include successful businessman/druglord Bryn, his uptight wife
Lucy, and their spoiled daughter, Bonny. The story begins in
earnest when Fatty, a roofer, suffers a ladder accident while
working on Bryn's home. Though legally responsible, Bryn refuses
to financially compensate poor Mr. Lewis. This leads his crazed
sons to retaliate by showering Bonny with urine while she
performs at a karaoke bar. Using his influence, Bryn has the cops
pay a violent visit to the boys, who return to his home for more
gruesome revenge. From there the situation escalates into
increased violence and tragedy.
"Getting the chance to
shoot there was just brilliant, even though it was very weird
filming in your home town".
Allen, who now lives in London grew up in Swansea, wanted to
return to his Welsh roots to make a film with Swansea as its
central character. "I always wanted to make a film there
because I'd always felt that it was truly a filmic location.
Getting the chance to shoot there was just brilliant, even though
it was very weird filming in your home town". It started out
as a serious treatise on life in the city, "but then evolved
into something darkly funny."
Though an admirer of the likes of Ken Loach, Allen himself
says he's "dead against the kind of cap-in-hand film making
he does", and in order "for as many people as possible
to see my film, it has to be as broad as possible, yet retain a
feeling of parochialness."
"I was amazed at how
much talent there was and I was determined to retain the
level of authenticity I was after."
To create a truly authentic Welsh flavour, Allen cast the film
from predominantly Welsh locals. "I was amazed at how much
talent there was and I was determined to retain the level of
authenticity I was after. On the one hand, you're forced to deal
with no names, but on the other, you're making up for it by going
for the real thing."
Allen sees Twin Town as "a revenge comedy with a touch of
black " and adds that he wants audiences "to have a
really good laugh and sit through 90 minutes of good
entertainment. But at the same time, I also want that humour to
shroud a kind of dark underbelly of small town skulduggery which
seems, superficially, ridiculous." Superficially, because he
says, "there's nothing unfeasible in the story."