When cinema tackles food, it is usually the high end of cuisine – think Babette's Feast or Meryl Streep shifting Le Creuset cookware in her latest movie, Julie & Julia. Now an award-winning British indie is tackling a rougher kind of cookery.
Bafta's 2009 Best Short Film, September, comes out on DVD on Monday. It will be accompanied not only by a tasteful soundtrack that encompasses the gypsy strains of A Hawk and a Hacksaw and Nancy Elizabeth's gentle acid folk, but also a recipe book – even though the film's protagonist works at a motorway service station. All he does is fry eggs.
Yet director Esther May Campbell has compiled a set of forage-friendly recipes. Her inspiration came from September's unconventional filming, trespassing in West Country motorway verges. "We sat a lot in fields, watched the sun and felt the season change," she explains. "Out on the film's recces, blackberries surrounded us. A week later on the shoot, they'd passed, replaced by hawthorn and rosehips. Nuts were fruiting in the trees."
Campbell started experimenting with chestnuts and sloe berries, while friends sent in tips. "Everyone has a foraging tale: an aunt's jam, memories of rosehip syrup, a lethal home-brewed brandy or gin. From these stories I wrote the recipes, to bring tastes and smells to the sounds and images of September.'' Judging from the recipes, the tastes are sweet, bitter and nostalgic for something just out of reach – much like the film itself.
'September' is released on DVD on 1 September