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Behind Closed Doors With Philip Barantini

Movie Marker went behind closed doors with director Phillip Barantini to chat about the special edition release of ‘Boiling Point’ starring Stephen Graham.



Movie Marker went behind closed doors with director Philip Barantini to chat about the Second Sight limited edition release of Boiling Point starring Stephen Graham.

I’m so in love with this film. It’s always one that, if people haven’t seen it, I’m really excited to recommend it to them. Are you pleased with the audience reaction so far to what you’ve done?

I’m overwhelmed by everyone’s reaction. If I’m honest with you, I didn’t expect people to respond so passionately, really, to what we made. It feels like it’s really difficult for some people and, you know, we made it with love and passion. and we wanted to, I had some experiences of what I’ve gone through in my life, and certainly when I was working in kitchens, but also with my addictions and things like that. I’ve been clean and sober for seven years now, but I went through a rough patch and wanted to shine a light really on society and mental health. What people are going through in life and behind closed doors. 

I always say that everybody’s got a mask. You’ve got your personal mask that you wear when you’re at home that nobody sees, and then you’ve got your mask that you put on in public. I wanted to show that nobody’s perfect. Everybody could be going through something in their life and you may not know what that is. 

Do you think it’s easier to tackle those bigger ‘life things’ like you were just saying, by focusing on something smaller — like a customer getting their meal or the inner workings of the restaurant?

Yeah. I mean, that’s what you see, isn’t it? Given the fact that we’ve decided to do this film in one take, it’s very limiting in terms of what you can show. We can’t go back and explore their life or ask “Why are they being aggressive? Why are they doing this?” In a conventional way, you probably would be able to do that. I wanted the audience to be able to relate to somebody in the film. “I’ve been spoken to like that. I’ve felt that.” Reach out to somebody potentially going through those things.

Movie Marker reviews Boiling Point

It’s not all doom and gloom. I wanted to show that also, certainly in the world of the restaurant, you are like a family. Sometimes, you are closer to that family than you are to your real family. I wanted to show that these are a close-knit, tight unit. They argue and fight but they also make up as well. We can imagine on other occasions, they probably sit around the bar and just get drunk with each other. They’re able to do that with each other because they’re so close. So those little nuances that I wanted to show, I knew that we couldn’t go too deep into them. But I wanted to just have this slice of life and I wanted the audience to be on this journey and immersed in it. There’s this sense in life of not going back on things with people we’ve just met.

How did you arrive at the decision to do everything in one take?

Well, we did the short film in 2018, and we did that in one take, which is 20 minutes. When we decided we were going to do a feature, we were sending the short film out as a proof of concept to try and finance stuff. We toyed with the idea of it being conventional, but nothing was really exciting us. To do it in one take in 20 minutes with just a touch of input had that euphoric feeling that everybody got afterwards. I knew that had been done before, the likes of Victoria and Brooklyn. So it just sort of all came out and it felt organic. I’m getting the same feeling I got when we did the short now while I’m talking about it, running around the room and acting on characters and stuff in front of James (Cummings). I’m looking like a lunatic. 

But then it was like “Alright, but that’s what we’re doing,” and then obviously we have to get people on board. Like my cinematographer Matt Lewis, who said he was up for it. And obviously getting Stephen Graham on board for the one-take — well, all the people involved in that respect. Not one person had any doubts. That’s when I knew it was the right thing to do. 

The other thing I really liked is the fact that it’s set during the festive period. I feel like Christmas just holds up this mirror to the really horrible sides of our character. How much of a conscious decision was it to lean into the chaos of that?

Well was funny really, because the short film we shot in December 2018. And I was just like “Let’s run with Christmas decorations.” The restaurant that we used still had them there in February. And I was like, “Fuck it. Let’s make it at Christmas.” It’s the busiest time of the year. So when it came to doing that it was a no-brainer, because if you’ve ever worked in hospitality, the last Friday before Christmas Day is the most stressful day. Everyone’s sort of like in holiday mode. So it was a no-brainer to talk about that extra layer of madness to add to the demand.

Of course, now you’re moving into TV as well — How easy is it to pivot from? I mean, that’s three mediums now: a short film, a feature, and a TV series. How have you found that process?

Absolutely mind-blowing. Obviously, we did the short and I was like “This is amazing.” And then it’s honestly happened so organically. I didn’t do the short in order to make the feature, and we haven’t made the feature in order to do TV. It just sort of happened that way. I got approached by the BBC to meet. I’d been talking to James Cummings (my co-writer) and Stephen Graham about maybe doing another film, then literally that maybe we should expand it into a TV series. Because then you get to play with more. And that week I got an email from someone commissioning at the BBC. 

I’m in the studio now to start filming in January. Honestly, I’m so grateful and I’ve managed to bring the most of the team all along the way. It’s difficult because people are working. But I feel like we’ve created a real family environment here and certainly with the actors as well. It’s just amazing.

Whether it’s through the TV show that you’re going to be working on or this incredible special edition release of the film, what are you now most excited for audiences to see?

A lot of people have asked me how it was made and stuff like that, and there are great behind-the-scenes insights on the Blu-ray, so I’m excited to be able to see that. For people just go on that journey again, and witness how we did it. 

In terms of the TV series yeah, I’m so excited to let the audience that it’s not a resolved thing. I can’t really say too much about it. But yeah, I’m really excited. I know not everybody has seen the movie. So we are approaching this in a way where it will satisfy the people who’ve seen the film but also have a brand new audience come in. 

Boiling Point Limited Edition Blu-ray is out now from Second Sight Films

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