Aa weekend fling sets off a lifetime of ramifications in “The West Wittering Affair,” whose comedy is more honest and direct than the final act’s melodrama. Storyline by co-stars Danny Scheinmann and Sarah Sutcliffe provides the spine for vet commercial helmer David Scheinmann’s cast, which improvised the dialogue. Uneven pic will amuse fest auds looking for lighter British fare, but commercial prospects are more certain for homevid than theatrical.
For her vid diary, Kathy (Sutcliffe) cringes at what’s happened “3 years after West Wittering” (per subtitle onscreen). In flashback, Kathy has the run of her friend’s farmhouse in West Wittering in rural southern Blighty, and invites stressed-out friend Natasha (Rebecca Cardinale), who’s fleeing her cheating b.f. Greg (David Annen), as well as male friend Jamie (Danny Scheinmann), for a weekend of whatever.
A night of bad dinner and good booze leads to some haphazard boinking involving Jamie with each woman in their separate bedrooms, followed by a less frolicsome morning with Jamie left naked and figuratively quartered on the kitchen table.
Three years on, Jamie is still trying to process the events with his therapist, who turns out to be Greg. In a fine moment on which the pic hinges, Greg realizes the identity of the second woman Jamie is describing in the West Wittering story. Meanwhile, when Jamie runs into Kathy on a London street with a baby, she announces the child is Jamie’s.
An antic form of farce on the street in front of Greg’s and Natasha’s flat keeps the comedy plates spinning in the air, but the story falls prey to overly dramatic flourishes that seem alien to what’s preceded them.
Ensemble members never slide out of character, even with the lack of pre-written dialogue, confirming a long (three years) workshopping and lensing process. Filmmaking, using small, DV cameras, is of the hold-and-shoot school, but editor Karoline Moser makes a movie of it by deftly intercutting between scenes and time frames.