Sunset Song film to be released by end of year

An image from the new film. Picture: Ricardo Vaz Palma
An image from the new film. Picture: Ricardo Vaz Palma
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A BIG-screen version of one of Scotland’s most iconic novels is to be released before the end of the year.

Sunset Song, one of the most eagerly-awaited Scottish films to go into production in recent years, will hit cinemas in December, following a world premiere in Toronto this month.

It will also be shown in competition at next month’s London Film Festival, while a high-profile Scottish premiere is also promised.

English actress Agyness Deyn has the starring role as Chris Guthrie, the young woman growing up in a dysfunctional family in a remote farming community.

Billed as “an epic rites of passage story”, Sunset Song was filmed on location last year in Aberdeenshire, where Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s classic story unfolds.

Deyn’s co-stars include Kevin Guthrie, who plays Chris Guthrie’s husband Ewan Tavendale, and Peter Mullan, who depicts her father.

Director Terence Davies and producer Bob Last joined forces again for the film after previously working together on period drama House of Mirth, which was filmed in Glasgow.

It took the pair around 15 years to get the production - which is said to “lament the devastation of war and pay fine tribute to the endurance of the land” - off the ground.

The shoot began in New Zealand last year, with Christchurch standing in for the Mearns landscape in Aberdeenshire to capture the crucial harvest season scenes, before the cast and crew moved to Scotland for several weeks.

Last told The Scotsman last year: “I have to admit I’d never actually read the book myself when Terence recommended it to me, but we’ve been pretty much been trying to get it made ever since and it was only last year that we managed to get all the funding in place.

“The different seasons are a very important part of the story in Sunset Song. We couldn’t film all together in any one location without using digital effects, but by going to New Zealand we were able to create the harvest scenes there.”

Published in 1932, Sunset Song was the first in what became to became to be known as the author’s “A Scots Quair” trilogy.

The BBC turned the book into a TV series in 1971 and in 2005 Sunset Song was named the “Best Scottish Book of All Time” at the Edinburgh International Book Festival after a six-week poll.