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Gozo

Malta/United Kingdom 2016. Dir: Miranda Bowen. 80 min. DCP

Only twice before (the first time in 2015) has tiny Malta, the European Union’s smallest country, had an entry in our Vancouver EUFF. London filmmaker Miranda Bowen’s first feature, a Malta-UK co-production, is a stylish psychological thriller set on titular Gozo, Malta’s second-largest island. There, Lucille (Ophelia Lovibond) and boyfriend Joe (Joseph Kennedy), a sound recordist, have settled after a recent traumatic event. The couple are madly in love, but the past proves difficult to escape, and their idyllic new life unravels in the face of several strange and troubling occurrences. Bowen, slowly ramping up the tension, creates a potent sense of isolation, claustrophobia, and paranoia. Nicolas Roeg’s Venice-set chiller Don’t Look Now was an acknowledged inspiration. Gozo was named best UK film at the Raindance Film Festival in London.