Watching a young British couple photograph a chap chasing after our train between Madgaon Junction and Mumbai this time three years ago, little did I think that the chance observation would lead to a script which in turn would lead to a cracking, disturbing short film… shot nowhere near India!
Like many ideas that set themselves up for creative extrapolation, this went through a fair number of “but what if…?” rinse cycles before becoming the non-Indian-train-journey finished article that director Louise Caruana Galizia chose to schedule into her 2018 ‘film a month’ project. Thinking back to the young couple on the train to Mumbai, I wondered how they might have presented the pictures they took that day to friends back home? Having been in India for close to a month by that point, I’d already seen just how good the country looks through a lens, even where it really shouldn’t. Would friends envious of the adventure of it all look past that gloriously golden mid-afternoon Instagram glow to see the desperation on the face of the man hailing a train that wouldn’t stop…? Would the travelling couple crop out the filth and rubbish that lined the track all the way through the countryside to a weekday city of 26 million…? Would they edit out the still and sullen figures who sat out in the heat and dust to watch another line of overcrowded carriages rattle past their pole-and-tarpaulin homes…?
How far might someone go to get their perfect shot…? This was the question that led to the creation of Bloody Tourists and the route down which all interpretations of the unfolding story invariably travelled: establish an innocent endeavour; suggest a sinister purpose.
Bloody Tourists was also our first shot at a purely ‘scenic’ shoot, something rooted solely in action and intimation. The beautifully-shot result owes much to a fine cast, great direction and cinematography, and a cracking original score that leaves the viewer in no doubt that sitting through the film is best done on the edge of their chosen seat – just see for yourself…
We’ll be writing more of these shorts through the year. A second, Looking Up, was recently filmed in London – more news to follow!