Chris is a writer and director. His short film Remission was nominated for the Iris Prize and the Best of British Award at the 2014 Cardiff Iris Prize Festival, amongst other festival screenings. His latest short film Soap, a dark sexual comedy, is set to premiere at the 2015 New Jersey International Film Festival, where it will open the competition section.
Chris is currently developing several feature film projects, including Knock-Out, a story about a young boxer coming to terms with his sexuality, which won Best Screenplay at the 2013 London Independent Film Festival and the Cordelia Award for Best UK Screenplay at the BlueCat competition in Los Angeles.
I wanted Remission to conjure up an imaginary English countryside, in which nature is reclaiming the ruins of our old civilization. It’s harsh and bleak, but also the timeless realm of a fairy tale – a psychological landscape that determines each character’s decisions and fate.
My inspiration came from reading ‘The Pardoner’s Tale’ by Geoffrey Chaucer, set in the desolate aftermath of the 1348-50 Black Death, which killed one half of Europe’s population. The tale is 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. The plague was seen as God’s apocalyptic punishment for human wrongdoing. 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 ).
Remission is a fable, but an ambiguous, ironic one. 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 my story, in which contact with infected blood means death – but how far should we accept the tales we are told, or trust those who tell them?
Remission trades in fate and punishment, but I wanted to rescue the men by exploring their quiet moments of humanity. One of them cries to himself, desperately. The other stares in childlike wonder as an old iPod crackles into life. The boy murmurs as he arranges his treasures, the leftovers of our disappeared world.
– Christopher Brown
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