Eden Valley (no director credited)

Rating: **1/2 (out of ****)

The story of the folks behind this movie is really almost as interesting as the film itself, and sometimes more so. No director is credited above because Eden Valley was essentially made by a committee...or, rather, a collective -- a group of eight people, men and women, who write, direct, edit, and produce films as a unit. That sounds very utopian when summarized, but I'm not sure that it really works terribly well when put into practice; Eden Valley doesn't seem to have much of a vision behind it. Basically a father-son relationship drama, the film meanders for much of its running time; many details are of interest, but there's no real sense of purpose, and little conflict. A plot is abruptly set in motion in the final two reels, which perks things up for a spell, but it isn't resolved in a satisfying way, and my reserve of goodwill for the concept, the fine non-professional actors, and the unobtrusively beautiful British countryside had been exhausted. Note: like Ken Loach's far superior Riff-Raff, much of the film is subtitled, despite being spoken entirely in English. In this case, I for one did not find the accents indecipherable, and the subtitles were a distraction.