One man, one job, one objective: capturing images of the film star Robert Barker on camera, preferably in an awkward, embarrassing and intimate occasion. This more or less summarises the life of paparazzo David Pillard (Gudmundur Thorvaldsson), who leads a lonely, empty and obstinate existence in the futile hope of eventually making big money through his morally-questionable job.
Chasing Robert Barker is a dark and yet strangely charming tale about life as a celebrity photographer in London. David encounters people of questionable character in his work, and a prostitute is often the most reliable emotional comfort that he can find. His boss Olly Clifford (Patrick Baladi) is a pedantic and manipulative womaniser. One day David loses his camera during a small altercation with his much-coveted subject Robert Barker – triggering sentiments that will change both David’s and Ollie’s life forever.
The London in Chasing Robert Barker is teeming with celebrity and people aspiring the high life, but it’s still a very somber and oppressive place. The camerawork deftly captures the glitz and the moral decadence of the British capital nowadays, supported by effective actors. It has some hints of Antonioni’s Blow Up: plus 50 years, minus the murder and the sexy girls prancing around. Chasing Robert Barker does not celebrate the photographer’s career and flare; quite the opposite.
Inspired by the revelations brought up by the Leveson Enquiry, the script was written by Daniel Florêncio and Nefeli Zygopoulou. Both authors are running for the Festival’s Accession Award, which this year focuses on recognising outstanding screenwriting.
Daniel Florêncio is a budding Brazilian filmmaker based in London – you can find out more about him by clicking here. He commented: “The premise of Chasing Robert Barker is that paparazzi photographers and tabloid journalists have become the source of great tragedies and drama. I’m thrilled to have the film screened in London. The city, with its colourful accents, dark winter nights and crowded loneliness is very much a living part of the movie.”
Chasing Robert Barker is on June 24th as part of the East London Film Festival – just click here in order to accede to our calendar or here for more information about the Festival.
You can watch the movie trailer here: