Archipelago (2010) - Synopsis


Edward (Tom Hiddleston) arrives on a remote island off the English coast, to join his mother (Kate Fahy) and sister (Lydia Leonard) who have organised the family holiday to say goodbye to Edward before he embarks on a year of voluntary service in Africa. Hired cook Rose (Amy Lloyd) and painting teacher Christopher (Christopher Baker) join the family in their rustic cottage and on daytrips around the island. But Edward’s father repeatedly fails to join the gathering, instead communicating with his wife and children via a series of increasingly strained phone-calls. His absence serves to bring the family’s buried anger and repressed emotions to the surface and underlying tensions are gradually revealed through raw scenes of bitter sibling rivalry and marital disharmony. The second feature from awardwinning writer-director Joanna Hogg, ARCHIPELAGO is an excruciatingly honest and darkly comic deconstruction of middle class sensibilities in its portrayal of a family on holiday and in crisis.

Filmed on location in the stunning and varied landscapes of Tresco in the Scilly Isles, ARCHIPELAGO is rich in dark humour and uneasy naturalism enhanced by Hogg’s now signature style of long, uninterrupted takes, avoidance of close-ups and the use of improvised dialogue. The film follows Hogg’s acclaimed debut feature Unrelated, and further establishes the director - whose style has already drawn comparisons with leading filmmakers including Bu˝uel and Ozu - as a groundbreaking British auteur. Unrelated won the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize at the 2007 London Film Festival and went on to attract outstanding critical acclaim upon its release, in addition to the Guardian Best Film Award and the Evening Standard’s Best Newcomer Award in 2009.