Director: Philippe Audi-Dor
Writers: Philippe Audi-Dor
Country: France, Lebanon, Switzerland, UK
Duration: 72 min
Stars: Hugo Bolton, Elly Condron, Simon Haycock
Olivier (Simon Haycock) takes his boyfriend James (Hugo Bolton) on a romantic break to his house in the South of France. Whilst is France they bump into Caroline (Elly Condron), an old friend of James’ who has been dumped by her boyfriend. The couple agree to let Caroline join them for their vacation but Olivier is less than happy at having a third person around for the duration. As the days go by Olivier and Caroline clash but soon they realise their dislike of each other may actually be covering up something more surprising.
Wasp is the feature-length debut of Swiss writer/director Philippe Audi-Dor. The film features only three actors and takes place in and around a beautiful house in Gordes, Provence. One of the first things you notice is that Wasp is incredibly understated and that’s definitely one of its strengths. Audi-Dor doesn’t feel the need to make his characters veer off onto monologues to move the plot along and often the silences in the film speak volumes about the characters.
The central plot focuses on the arrival of Caroline into the midst of Olivier and James’ romantic break. Early on in the movie Caroline questions whether either men have been with a woman before and Olivier confesses he has but not since he came out. It’s established early on that the strong-willed Caroline is happy to push whatever buttons she needs to in order to get a reaction and despite an initial dislike between her and Olivier, the two characters start to be drawn to one another.
It’s at this point that the film gets really interesting. We’ve seen countless films exploring closeted characters that are attracted to the same sex but we’ve never seen a film before where a man who identifies as gay begins to question if he is indeed gay or possibly bisexual. The way the story unfolds is really intriguing and we commend Audi-Dor for doing something different and unexpected. The tension that builds between Olivier and Caroline does so expertly and at a believable pace.
We really don’t want to give too much else away about the plot but all we’ll say is that there are plenty of surprising twists and turns as you head to Wasp’s climax. Audi-Dor has assembled a stellar cast for the movie with all of the leads equal to one another in terms of their performance. Simon Haycock does a great job of conveying Olivier’s conflict through his emotive performance and he has superb chemistry with both Hugo Bolton and Elly Condron. Bolton makes what could have been a fairly flighty role rather meaty and Condron has great fun playing the devilishly manipulative Caroline. The trio works really well together and they really excel in the scenes where the tension threatens to boil over.
Audi-Dor, who wrote the movie and directed it, also deserves special comment for what he’s achieved. The film doesn’t feel low budget and the cinematography captures the stunning location really well. It’s not easy to make a film with only three actors compelling and whilst this could work well as a play, Audi-Dor’s direction makes it an intriguing character study and he gets superb performances from his actors.
Wasp isn’t due to be released until Spring 2015 and we think you should be making a note in your diary to see it now. With strong central performances, an interesting and original premise, and stunning direction it’s a film that took us by complete surprise. We’ll be keeping an eye on Audi-Dor to see what he does next and we’ll also be closely watching the careers of Simon Haycock, Hugo Bolton and Elly Condron.