Set in 1555 England, when it has been decreed Egyptian ‘gypsies’ must leave or face execution, this rural drama is extremely timely, with first-time screenwriter Laura Turner showing how little some things have changed between 16th Century England and the present. Director Philip Stevens, making his feature film debut, guides Turner’s story with an assured and sensitive hand, showing the cruel and corrosive effects of bigotry and misogyny.
Hannah Douglas (Clownface) is striking as the mute Patience, who falls in love with a ‘gypsy’, Rumi, played by Skins star Sebastian De Souza, much to the displeasure of her overbearing brother-in-law, David (Peaky Blinders and Gangs of London star Emmett J Scanlan). Beautifully scored, and shot on location amongst the awe-inspiring scenery of the Lincolnshire coastline, LAPWING is coolly composed, and underscored with dread, where love blossoms in the shadow of merciless and brutal violence.
Following in the footsteps of female-centric period dramas The Nightingale, The Witch, Gwen and Lady Macbeth, and recalling mixture of intensity and poeticism of the cinema of Jane Campion, LAPWING gets under the viewer’s skin and resonates strongly in our current turbulent climate.