Writer-director Ben Bond’s upcoming directorial debut The Drifters was originally intended for an earlier release but is now able to release in virtual cinemas on April 2nd as well as on-demand on April 5th. This sumptuously shot independent film is a homage to Godard’s New Wave classics like Pierrot le Fou and Breathless. It charts the whirlwind romance between Koffee, played by Jonathan Ajayi, and Fanny, played by Lucie Bourdeu, two migrants new to London as they drop everything to go on the run and wander around the south coast together.
The entire thing hinges on the chemistry between Ajayi and Bourdeu, who easily embody the suave gallic cool and dangerous edge that Godard popularised. They both succeed in convincingly playing characters who live for risk and are so drawn to each other that they would readily abandon the lives they’ve built for themselves on a whim. They don’t question whether they should stay or go. They do as they will.
The opening narration boldly announces, “Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.” This quite aptly describes the film as a whole, which is an exercise in a defiant romance that cares not for laws or borders. Bond has cited a fascination with freedom of movement as his impetus for the film, wanting to tell a story about someone without freedom of movement (Koffee is an undocumented refugee) falling for someone free to go where they please. The film’s pre-pandemic setting has a steady stream of Brexit iconography, a constant reminder of the danger that’s never far behind them and unjustly stands in their way.
Bond wears his influences on his sleeve and makes no secret of it. Fanny is obviously his answer to Anna Karina and Uma Thurman, to the extent that she dons Karina’s iconic black bob while dancing to 50s rock just as Thurman did in Pulp Fiction. Bond even goes so far as to write Tarantino himself into Fanny’s backstory, with her claiming to have met him during the filming of Inglorious Basterds.
Both stylistically and narratively, The Drifters is very much a homage to Godard. Much of the sets, props, and costumes are in saturated primary colours against a neutral background. This is taken straight out of Pierrot le Fou, which also follows an offbeat couple as they go on the run around a picturesque coast. One of the film’s best assets is that it’s exquisitely shot. The primary colours pop and the sun-soaked lighting makes the Devon landscape come alive.
This is Bond’s directorial debut, which makes the visually stunning final product all the more impressive. Ajayi and Bourdeu’s characters both possess a vitality in spite of their traumatic pasts and have you constantly wanting to see what they do next. So, if you’re looking for a dazzling and free-spirited independent film to liven up pandemic life, The Drifters is available on-demand starting April 5th.
THE DRIFTERS is released in virtual cinemas from 2 April and on demand 5 April 2021 www.thedriftersmovie.com
Apple TV https://apple.co/39fXeBg