The Winter of Love and its film language

In ‘The Winter of Love’ (formerly ‘A Quiet Desperation’), film language or creating its own internal language was a key driving force in making the film.Upon reflection, the DOP commented that we had entered the realms of European film making – albeit some clumsy moments, the film’s ambitions to a certain extent were met.

By using a non-linear structure, which at the time of filming was just coming to the notice of audiences, the film tried to make a difference in how low budget films were structured. In hindsight, it might have been easier to go with a conventional structure as the theme of the language was alienation and the outsider, a tall order by any means.

The language of the film really came together on the editing table, where we were challenged to work with a limited amount of material. In total we had shot about 7 hours of footage, working with a ratio of 10 to 1, or is it 1 to 10 – I don’t recall which way it’s meant to be read, anyhow, for every shot we could only shoot ten takes or we would have run out of film stock. Phew!

With Shammi’s character along side that of Preeti, the language of the outsider was quickly established – this was then depicted through shots of lone skies in various colours/moods/shades and close shots of the bodies of the characters which further alienated them from the whole.

For me to decipher the language of the film is a difficult matter as I believe the film uses cyclical motions to travel with each character as the story develops and returns to the present – so the anchor was always the present and rested within the character of Shammi, played by Shiv Grewal; he is the outsider, who once upon a time was on the inside but had the ability to step away, learn about the world and return – it was about showing a broken man unable to maintain himself being and by default becoming the saviour; attaining redemption.

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