Ritzy screens new British film Blood Cells with live score

On Saturday night the Ritzy is screening a new British film – but with a melodious flourish. Film contributor Adam Marshall previews Blood Cells.

Still from Blood Cells by David Proctor
Francis Magee in Blood Cells. Image by David Proctor

Can’t choose between a trip to the cinema or a spot of live music this weekend? Consider your decision made – ahead of its nationwide release next week, the Ritzy is holding a special screening of Blood Cells accompanied by a live score on Saturday evening.

The dark and desolate debut feature of director duo Joseph Bull and Luke Seomore, Blood Cells follows a lost soul Adam. Estranged from his friends and family after a domestic tragedy, he wanders unwanted around Britain’s underbelly.

The film is marked by encounters with fellow stragglers – a teenage girl who doesn’t want to go home, a religious zealot offering redemption, a hard-up old flame, an erstwhile drinking buddy – as Adam tries to reconcile his own loss.

Still from Blood Cells by David Proctor
Barry Ward in Blood Cells. Image by David Proctor

With resounding critical success at last year’s Venice Film Festival, the mood and colour palette take their cues from the Nordic noir. Disused abattoirs and unloved seaside towns reflecting a foreboding mirror to the bleak transformation within Adam’s psyche.

Much of the dialogue is improvised by the leads – an increasingly ubiquitous feature of socio-realist British movie making – with some scenes seemingly being shot with local non-actors. Adam is played by Barry Ward, last seen in Ken Loach’s Jimmy’s Hall. And there is certainly a sense that Loach is a touchstone for Bull and Seomore.

And the discordant score nods towards that other modern British cinematic classic, Under the Skin – with the occasional jarring melee of strings providing an unsettling and otherworldly backdrop. This should sound particular effective when Seomore – who also composed the film’s music – leads musicians through the live accompaniment.

Blood Cells preview screening with live score takes place on Saturday 27 June at 8.45pm. The film is on general release from Tuesday 30 June.