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INFORMACIÓN
Titulo original: Keepers
Año Producción: 2018
Nacionalidad: Inglaterra
Duración: 107 Minutos
Calificación: No recomendada para menores de años
Género: Thriller
Director: Kristoffer Nyholm
Guión: Joe Bone, Celyn Jones
Fotografía: Jorgen Johansson
Música: Benjamin Wallfisch
FECHAS DE ESTRENO
España: 1 Mayo 2019
DISTRIBUCIÓN EN ESPAÑA
Alfa Pictures


SINOPSIS

Tres fareros llegan a una isla abandonada. Thomas, James y Donald comienzan sus rutinas, hasta que algo inesperado ocurre: topan con algo extraño, algo que no es exactamente lo que un farero debería vigilar. Las cosas se complicarán cuando avistan un barco que podría tener todas las respuestas, desatando un thriller psicológico basado en la leyenda de la isla de Flannan...

INTÉRPRETES

GERARD BUTLER, PETER MULLAN, ÓLAFUR DARRI ÓLAFSSON, GARY LEWIS, SOREN MALLING, CONNOR SWINDELLS, EMMA KING, KEN DRURY, RODERICK GILKISON, JOHN TAYLOR

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- Festival de Sitges 2018

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KEEPERS & THE FLANNAN ISLES MYSTERY...
   The story of KEEPERS begins over 100 years ago with the real-life Flannan Isles Mystery. In December 1900, three lighthouse keepers on this rugged outcrop, lying off the coast of the Hebrides in western Scotland, disappeared without trace. The fate of these men, living in isolation on the very edge of the world, remains a mystery to this day.
  When the authorities became aware that the light was not working, a team was sent to the lighthouse to investigate and what they found was puzzling indeed. There was no sign of the men. For all three to venture out and leave the light unattended was most irregular and ran contrary to the edicts of the Northern Lighthouse Board.
  Inside the lighthouse, however, everything looked normal. The lamps were trimmed and the washing-up was done. There were cold ashes in the grate. The clocks had all stopped. Some say that a single chair was overturned in the kitchen, though this may have been a later, literary embellishment.
  Importantly, two sets of oilskins were missing, which suggests that the third man must have gone outside without his waterproofs, a most unusual move. The log entries in the lighthouse’s official ledger also seem rather emotive. Perhaps all was not well.
  A whole host of theories have been put forth as to the men’s fate – some even encompassing the supernatural – and the mystery has inspired writers and poets across the years. Certainly, it inspired Joe Bone, one of the two co-writers of KEEPERS, when he began to investigate the story.
  Bone came across the tale in the wake of a moment he enjoyed on the Isle of Wight where, sitting down with his partner, he drank in the view of St. Catherine’s lighthouse, which stands on the island’s picturesque southern tip.
  “I was looking at St. Catherine’s, watching its revolving beam, seemingly on the edge of the world,” he begins, “and that got me thinking – what goes on inside a lighthouse? What are those relationships like? Then I went home and when doing some research, I came across the Flannan Isle lighthouse mystery. I thought that was a great story and a really good departure point.”
  The idea stayed with him and resurfaced one day in Scotland when Bone sat down for breakfast with fellow writer Celyn Jones. Both men are actors as well as writers and were in production on the BBC drama Castles in the Sky. Bone had enjoyed Jones’s script for feature film SET FIRE TO THE STARS, a piece that Jones had co-written and which was released in 2014.
  It was then that Bone mentioned the Flannan Isles mystery and Jones agreed that the story was an intriguing foundation for a film. They decided to write a screenplay together. “We thought the premise of Flannan Isle was a wonderful departure point for a screenplay, but how do you turn it into a film without solving the mystery?” asks Bone.
  “Our answer was to play our story between the real beats and create an exciting and audacious story within the space, leaving the furniture intact,” says Jones. “We had a fantastic setting with the island and a tense crucible in the lighthouse. We had three main characters, all cut adrift from their relationships, a perfect trinity of personalities to conjure up and set against one another.”
  Bone notes that very early in the process the writers wanted to distinguish the three characters in age, physique and wisdom. “This would complete the puzzle - youth versus muscle versus brains.”
  They took great pleasure in exploring the dynamic between the three men. “You have an elder statesman, the middle-aged big-hearted honest guy and then a younger, sly mercurial character. That is all great fun to play with,” notes Jones.
  “They have all got their backstories. The eldest, Thomas, is in a very vulnerable place, having lost his wife, and his own soul. Then in the middle there is James who is under pressure to provide for his family. Finally, there is Donald, bouncing around the town like a rogue atom, having no real purpose because he’s been neglected all of his life.”
  In KEEPERS, these three men travel to the Flannan Isles lighthouse and come together as a unit. This particular telling of the story begins in 1938. “It takes a bit of time but they find a space to exist together and get on,” says Jones. “But then something happens. There’s poison in the well. They find something they can’t resist. They do something they can’t hide and they keep something they shouldn’t keep.”
  The story becomes an exploration of the “de-civilisation of man,” continues Jones. “It’s a story of humanity and death, the universe throwing things up. They’re ordinary guys in extraordinary circumstances, trying to make decisions in the heat of the moment. This is our Shallow Grave, our Alien, our Misery.”
  The main themes in the film are greed, paranoia, and isolation. “It’s a journey where the men become thieves, then liars, then killers,” explains Bone, “and they have to deal with that descent into mayhem.”
  Greed is the driving force. “The idea was inspired by sailors who’d fought the Spanish Armada, gotten shipwrecked themselves, and drowned because they’d filled their pockets with gold. They were drowned by their own greed,” says Bone. “Greed was a rich seam to be mined.”
  The themes, tension and drama inherent in Jones’ and Bone’s script proved very appealing to the film’s producers. “We were captivated by this story, taking the mystery of the Flannan Isles as its starting point,” says producer Ade Shannon.
  “It’s not a story many people will have heard of before but I think because the writers have left the furniture intact, as it were, people are going to leave the cinema and start Googling the real mystery.
  “And it is more than just a thriller,” Shannon adds. “There are so many layers to it. It is about loss of hope, the descent of man into madness, and also a group of men with a very close bond who become thieves, then liars and then murderers. It has a fantastic setting and an amazing ending.”

THE ARTISTIC VISION...
  Very early in the film’s development, the producers were able to secure the services of Danish director Kristoffer Nyholm, who helmed the acclaimed Scandinavian series The Killing. Nyholm has been credited with a major role in the rise of ‘Nordic Noir’ and after enjoying further success on the small screen with the likes of The Enfield Haunting and the Tom Hardy series, Taboo, he was eager to shoot his first feature.
  The director already knew Celyn Jones as an actor, having worked with him on the TV series Jo and Endeavour, and the writers and producers thought that the Dane would have the perfect vision to bring their story to life. “He wanted to be very involved from the outset,” says producer Andy Evans, “and Kristoffer worked with the writers for two years on the script.
  “We’ve given him free rein to create the vision he wants. The film has a Scandi feel to it, a starkness that adds to the look and the feel of the story.”
According to the writers, Nyholm’s input into the script was pivotal. “He has really influenced where the script has gone and without him I think it would be a very different story,” explains Bone. “He immediately wanted to bring it in very close, play the drama, play the three characters off each other while making it both uncomfortable and entertaining for the audience.”
  For Nyholm the main attraction lay in the story’s simplicity and the psychological drama held within, “whereby these lighthouse keepers go from being normal people to protectors, to killers and murderers.
  “It is quite a dark piece, like a story from my youth,” he adds, “very simple. And the basic idea was very stimulating – three men working in a lighthouse – and yet we’re making a big drama that unfolds in this small space.”
  The film feels akin to the 1948 John Huston classic The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, he says, as well as some of the early Polanski dramas, and films from the 1970s “that often had a very simple set up and a simple engagement with people in a limited space.”
  KEEPERS is centred almost entirely on the small island that holds the lighthouse, and when outside influences affect the dynamic among the three central characters, turbulence erupts. “When you are confronted with big things from the outside,” Nyholm explains, “there is nowhere to go and get help, and sins surface, cracks appear and men are confronted with other parts of their soul.
  “These three men together have the tools to take care of each other,” he continues. “They can be responsible men. But when things begin to go wrong we see that they are quite different and things surface in a way that is quite unpredictable.”
  The director says that he read up on the Flannan Isles mystery, adding that “where there is a mystery we can bring in our own interpretation and we can tell our own story. Something happened out there but we don’t know what.
  “Hopefully ours is a film that is exciting and entertaining but at the same time will tell you something about what we are made of,” he says, “what happens when the veneer of civilisation cracks and you lose that normal navigation we have through society.
  “When you are alone things can happen. This is a human story. It has an entertaining plot and also it has some truthful characters that I really love.”

THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS...
  In real life, three keepers were sent to the Flannan Isles lighthouse at any one time. For one man, it would be too lonely. If there were just two men, they might argue too much. Three was considered the perfect balance. In KEEPERS, a trinity of leads provides a number of narrative assets, allowing the filmmakers to explore the psyches of three men who are all at different stages of life.
  “We have Donald, who is the youngest and it is his first time out as a Keeper,” says Nyholm. “In a way he is quite an innocent. Then Thomas is the oldest, and he is carrying a burden because his wife recently died and he’s carrying guilt. And then there’s James, a stable family man in the middle, always able to do the hard work and care for others.”
  The nominal leader among them is Thomas, played by Peter Mullen. “As the older of the three lighthouse keepers it is his task to keep things in order,” says the actor. “He keeps a ledger that as far as he’s concerned is the most important thing in the lighthouse, though he soon finds out there are more important things than that. These men find themselves caught up in a situation way beyond their ken.”
  Thomas has been working the lighthouse for 25 years, though on this particular journey, which even at the outset might be his last, he carries a heavy emotional burden. “His wife has only recently passed away and we come to learn that their relationship was estranged,” says Bone.
  “They’d lived in the same house but didn’t really communicate anymore because many years before they’d lost children in childbirth. We sense that Thomas almost blamed his wife for that. He probably thought he was going to reconcile that but then she died, so that opportunity was lost.
  “We meet Thomas when he’s starting to question himself and his life and we feel this might be the last time he is going to the lighthouse.”
Nyholm says that from the very first time he spoke to Mullen, he could see the character of Thomas within him. “Peter is rooted in Scotland and he knows what things are made of,” the director notes. “And he is very good at sharing his world with other people.
  “At the same time he is also a brilliant actor and he brought a simplicity and truthfulness into the role which was very important. Peter was the only one I thought of as Thomas.”
  Indeed, both Bone and his co-writer, Jones, state that the very first name they wrote down on their list of ideal performers was Mullen’s. “Honestly,” insists Bone, “Peter was in our thoughts from the outset. We wrote down Peter’s name first and then Gerard Butler’s.”
Gerard Butler came on board to play James, the middle-aged man, someone who Bone describes as “a very moral character and a family man; loving, caring and kind.”
  It is James who endures the biggest journey, psychologically. “He suffers a psychological break down,” adds Bone. “He always considered himself a moral family man, but after one hugely significant event, he begins to wonder how he will be able to look his children in the eye again.”
  It was this complexity that appealed to Butler. “The script is such an elevated piece of writing,” says the actor, “and it’s such an unusual story. It drew me in very quickly and I never knew where it was going to go.
  “At first, James seemed one of the more normal characters and I wondered if it was going to be challenging enough for me. But then he went to a place where I had no idea he would go, and it became a more and more delicious and challenging prospect to play him.”
  In fact, Butler says that his character goes to a place where not many actors get a chance to go. “He disintegrates in front of your eyes. You’re left with a shell of a man, yet he sees this happening and he comments on his own descent into madness.
  “The movement towards that is a fascinating journey because not only is he losing his mind, but we had to work out how I’m going to present that. Is it through disconnection, erratic behaviour, violence?
  “There were so many different places I could go with this and it was so much fun to go into.” He laughs, “I ended up drawing upon my own craziness and then making up the rest.”
  Butler also enjoyed the dynamic between the three men in the setup, even before events take a darker turn. “The story is a very subtle exploration of their relationship as they arrive,” he says. “The kid, Donald, is a bit of a delinquent and he interferes with the relationship that exists between Thomas and James.
  “They are almost like a clan,” he adds, “with a grandfather, father and son, and you see through their chores and their work and their relationships with each other what their views are, how far they can push each other. It leads into an interesting drama.”
  And then it all changes and cranks up a notch. “Bang! Something unexpected happens,” Butler beams. “Something arrives on the island that they weren’t expecting. Everything changes, and all the little moments you’ve had in the movie become like markers, beacons for what is to come.
  “The story becomes about three men who succumb to the temptations of greed and jealousy, and they make a decision from which there are consequences. And they cannot avoid them. It’s not going anywhere nice and it suddenly starts going there faster and faster.”
  Butler’s director says that the actor represents much that is evident in the character of James. “He’s a very loving and caring person who wears his heart on his sleeve,” Nyholm says, “but when James moves into darkness and becomes mad, Gerard is a very convincing person to follow. It becomes very realistic; he is absolutely capable of going into that darkness.”
  Rounding out the triumvirate of keepers is Donald, played by newcomer Connor Swindells. “I knew how great Peter Mullen always is on screen,” notes Butler, “but Connor Swindells is jaw-dropping. He is always surprising and entertaining but so truthful, which is incredible seeing that he hasn’t had much experience.”
  Nyhom agrees. “Connor is terrific and he really felt that this was his story,” the director says. “He grew up with his grandmother – he was a boxer before he became an actor – and the innocence in this character was very much like Connor’s. At the same time, he is an extremely talented performer.”
  Swindells says that he found the character fascinating. “Donald has a reputation for being a bad boy and that takes over everything he has ever done in his life, so the idea of going somewhere like the lighthouse, where no one can judge him, is very appealing.
  “Though things change, he is very much entertained by the idea of separating himself from the real world.”
At the outset, Donald enjoys the dynamic between the three men. “In the story, my character is learning from these guys who guard the lighthouse,” says the actor. “Donald is their apprentice and that’s how I feel with me working with Gerry and Peter. They’re showing me the ropes.
  “With James, there is this almost brotherly connection. Donald has never really had anyone in his life that has cared for him. But James has a paternal nature where everyone around him loves him and holds him in high respect.
  “That said, there is a competitive side to their natures and some tomfoolery. Donald is like the Jack Russell playing with the bigger dog. And James as the bigger dog knows when to bark, ‘Enough.’”
  Thomas, meanwhile, is like the father that Donald never had. “Thomas is top dog, a leader and a teacher to him, someone who can show him the way that the world works,” Swindells says. “He provides Donald with discipline; he’s never had anyone to tell him when to toe the line.”
  For all the goodness the three men bestow upon one another, however, Swindells relishes the way their relationship disintegrates when subjected to powerful exterior forces.
  “This world can be a dark place, and bad things can happen to good people,” he says. “That’s the thing with this story – it doesn’t matter if you’re good or bad, things are going to take a turn and it’s how you respond that is important.”

FINDING THE LIGHT...
  While the film is centred on the three lighthouse keepers and those they meet during the course of the story, the landscape – and the lighthouse in particular – also play a key role. Given that KEEPERS is a Scottish story with a predominantly Scottish cast, all the filmmakers agreed that is should be filmed on location in that country.
  “We had lots of offers to take the film elsewhere but we always held firm to the idea that we wanted it to be shot in Scotland,” says producer Sean Marley.
  This brought its own difficulties, not only with the unpredictable weather but also the treacherous tides. There are a number of scenes filmed out on the water, and the Irish Sea is a formidable environment. One key scene was filmed on boats at a point where five different tides meet.
  Marley, however, says that their director took all this in his stride. “When you’re working on a film that is very real and very stark, working with the weather can bring something new to the film, actually,” notes the producer.
  “Kristoffer was very keen on that idea and he was never fazed by the weather. He is a genius but he’s a calm genius.”
Like the writers and producers, Nyholm was adamant that the film was shot in Scotland. “These are the real landscapes and this is the real culture, and it’s these things that add up to make this the story,” he insists.
  “It reminds us of the lives of the people that have lived here for hundreds of years. It’s important that we shot it close to the real location.”
Due to its isolation, shooting at the actual Flannan Isles lighthouse was not an option. Hence the filmmakers, after extensive scouting, settled on Galloway in southwest Scotland, with specific attention paid to the lighthouse on the tip of the Mull of Galloway, which, says producer Andy Evans, can readily pass for an island light.
  “Really, the lighthouse is our fourth character, our Millennium Falcon, and that was the hardest thing to find,” he says. “We couldn’t film on the Flannan Isles so we travelled around Scotland looking for a suitable lighthouse.
  “We had to find a lighthouse that would look as though it’s on an island, with sheer cliffs to give it that perspective,” he adds, “and the Mull of Galloway became our beacon, our lighthouse, because it’s out on a little peninsula.”
  In truth, the filmmakers ended up using four different lighthouses, all in the Galloway area, for different shots. “Luckily,” notes Evans, “the Northern Lighthouse Board, which looks after all the lighthouses in Scotland, uses the same generic design and paintwork, which solves a lot of the logistical problems when it comes to switching locations.”
  All the actors relished shooting on location. Peter Mullen has a house close by and is very familiar with the local towns. Butler, meanwhile, was just happy to shoot in his homeland once more. “I have not made a movie in Scotland since Dear Frankie in 2001,” he recalls. “I’ve been reminded of how proud I am to be Scottish while making this movie.”

‘THE HELL I SUFFER SEEMS A HEAVEN’...
  Butler goes on to say that KEEPERS feels like a genre unto itself. “I’ve never read anything like it before and from what I’ve seen so far, I’ve never seen anything like it before.
  “It’s a psychological thriller that will have you in tears. It is exceptionally emotional. You get to know these three men on such a deep level, and then this tragedy evolves. It becomes very moving while at the same time it is both brutal and terrifying. It scares you but you’ll be in tears for half of the movie.”
  The writers, meanwhile, insist that they simply wanted to say something poignant about trust and the frailty of the human condition. “We believe that KEEPERS has all the shock and awe life can offer, wrapped up in a film that we hope will cling to its audience well after the reel stops turning,” says Jones.
  “Failing all that,” adds Bone, “we’ll be remembered for the scene where someone’s eye pops out!”

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