Film Review: Under the Cover of Cloud

Australian film Under the Cover of Cloud, from cinematographer Joshua Aylett, recently screened at the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) – review by Dash Wilson

Under the Cover of Cloud is unlike any other film I have ever seen.

Written, directed and produced by 38-year-old proud Tasmanian Ted Wilson, this debut feature tells the story of a man who loses his job as a part-time writer in Melbourne so decides its the perfect time to visit his family back in Tasmania. This largely autobiographical picture was produced with no script (and no money) and most of the actors in the film, if you can even call them that, are Wilson’s actual family. Wilson has paired his talents well with up and coming cinematographer Joshua Avlett.

There is a real sense of the true Tasmania in this film. It is extremely minimalist but the lighting and panoramas used are highly effective and for much of its running time it quite literally feels like you are visiting your neighbour’s family home. With that being said, for most cinema goers, this film may be unwatchable. There is no real plot. The main story of the film is Wilson trying to find and meet local retired Australian cricketer David Boon.

A scene from 'Under the Cover of Cloud' - DOP Joshua Aylett
A scene from ‘Under the Cover of Cloud’ – DOP Joshua Aylett

There is no drama within the family, no conflict they need to resolve. Throughout the running time I was instinctively waiting for something to happen but I suspect that is the point. The filmmaker wanted to make a film about the simplicity of family time and how life isn’t necessarily full of drama.

There were moments of Under the Cover of Cloud that actually reminded me of Richard Linklater’s masterpiece ‘Beyond’ trilogy which, by the director’s own admission, was basically just two people’s conversation for ninety minutes on screen. The difference between that series and this film is that Under the Cover of Cloud is just natural day to day life that borders on observational documentary rather than traditional film narrative.

The reception Under the Cover of Cloud receives is as yet unknown. What I do know is that this shouldn’t be Mr Wilson’s last film… it is far too good for that.

Dash Wilson is a film-lover based in Brisbane and resident Film Reviewer for Australian Cinematographer Magazine.

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