‘Catch of the Day’ (Helfa’r Heli) opens with a beautiful sunrise on a Welsh coast, and a man staring longingly towards the breathtaking landscape that unfolds before him. His wife jokingly declares herself jealous given his centre of attention, but we later learn that she has nothing to fear. The short film which constitutes Geraint Huw Reynolds’ first venture into directing is an exploration of many themes, the main ones being love, longing and sacrifice – all interrelated on both real and mystical dimensions.
The project’s plot carefully masks some of its key elements, without the act ever feeling annoying in its process of withholding information from the audience. Thematically speaking, the love affair on display here transcends normal conventions in terms of structure, but also in terms of nature. Parallels can be easily traced with the romantic 19th century Romanian poet Mihai Eminescu’s poem ‘Lucifer’, and its own transcendence of one’s nature in the name of love, although ‘Catch of the Day’ acts as a sort of reverse in terms of its resolution.
As we explore the bond that has kept the two together throughout their happy ages of marriage, the film showcases scenes of a rare sensitivity, which become all the more meaningful on a second viewing, once a defining element of the plot is known. Not all has been rosy for the couple – they have also gone through some tough and emotionally draining times, which has only strengthened the power of their relationship, however. While some projects are based upon the diminishing strength of love through the years, ‘Catch of the Day’ shows the reverse – we’re not seeing an initial sacrifice, but one which is made day after day with the same willingness. The power and ingenuity of the otherwise simple narrative is vividly transposed on the screen via an outstandingly professional and artistic direction. Each frame captures sparks of beauty, whether they represent the contemplative allure of a natural landscape or the emotional spectrum of the main protagonists. Speaking of the two characters, both Alun Elidyr and Sharon Morgan bring their respective characters to live with limitless vigour: each word or non-verbal element from their play is excellent and thoroughly convincing.
Through his first project as a film director, Geraint Huw Reynolds strikes a perfect balance between the natural beauty on display in a remote coastal location in Wales and the beauty of the human spirit, or rather the spirit as a more general term – ready to throw itself into the great unknown for a noble sentiment. For this admirable accomplishment, ‘Catch of the Day’ has been named the Runner-up for our August 2017 ‘Film of the Month’ Award.