Reviewed by Roger Gook

Vesper, the film shown on Sunday at the Keswick Film Club, was filmed in Lithuania, by Lithuanian and Belgian directors, and has been described dystopian eco-thriller.

The story plays out on a vividly portrayed dank and harsh planet Earth where all plants and animals have been destroyed by the failure of technological and biological experiments
which escaped to give mutant lifeforms. It's also one of spell binding beauty as well, filmed with great creativity and imagination.

Vesper is a girl trying to keep her injured father alive, with few resources, and the story is necessarily sombre but with flashes of humour and humanity. In this new Dark Age, those with power and status live in an enclosed city, the Citadel, while those on the outside struggle to survive, dependent on seeds which are traded for blood donations, but are genetically engineered to provide only one harvest.

This damaged world is vividly and imaginatively invoked, with a coherence often missing in films with a constructed universe. There are no flashy effects or the usual recourse to big computer graphics. The narrative is not always clear but the story maintains tension, with various groups vying for the few resources available. Despite the film's overall bleakness, the audience is not left without hope. Nothing is certain, but Vesper's tenacity gives us a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel as she cracks the coding of the seeds to enable further harvests.

The film is effective because of the rich, captivating world through which the story threads. It feels real and organic, yet full of mystery. Underlying it all is the ever-present question – What is the cost to my family and friends – and beliefs – to ensure my own survival?