Pond Life

Certificate 15


(2018) 100 mins

Director: Bill Buckhurst
Writer: Richard Cameron
Cinematography: Nick Cooke
Production Design: Anthony Lamble
Music: Richard Hawley


Summertime, 1994. In a quiet mining village just outside Doncaster, a rumour stirs about the legend of a giant carp in the nearby decoy ponds. Trevor (Tom Varey) takes watch one night at the water’s edge. The following night, he decides to lead a brigade of young friends and neighbours on a fishing expedition. In a world of broken families, cassette tapes and rumbling political fever, these friends, each with their own struggles to bear, share a moment of harmony, as they witness the carp for themselves, that they will never forget.

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Showings of this film are part of our Cinematheque season which is supported by the British Film Institute.



With fresh, naturalistic performances and a script written in the local dialect, Pond Life is engaging throughout. It will ring a bell with many people in rural communities, not least because of the number of similar legends out there. There’s lots of humour, both in the dialogue and in the detailed observations of village life in the Nineties, from the clothes the kids wear to the songs they sing and the tape recorder Pogo carries with her everywhere, collecting fragments of ambient sound. We move through a landscape of newspaper deliveries, laundry, pub quizzes and jokes about the impertinence of would-be prime minister Tony Blair. There’s nary a mention of school. Summer holidays can feel as if they’ll go on forever.  Originally written as a play and adapted to the screen with wit and verve, Pond Life is a slice of life with rough edges. There’s darkness in it but it’s full of hope, a real charmer.”  Eye for Film

On the outside, this is an idyllic, slice-of-life drama about the joys of a summer spent chasing a fishy legend. However, underneath, Pond Life holds so much more. Each character strives to bear their burdens and struggles, yet they share a moment of blissful happiness and harmony when they finally see the carp for themselves.”  The Upcoming

“Pond Life is one of those rare films that successfully make magic out of the mundane and turn trash into treasure. Similar to Beasts of the Southern Wild or The Florida Project, it draws our focus to a largely deprived community where the troubles of the older generation are merely a backdrop to the brightness and imagination-fuelled optimism of youth.”  Time Out

Tue 17 Sep Chepstow
Sat 19 Oct Buckingham


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