With its world premiere at the British Independent Film Festival earlier this month, Jump is a gem of a movie that is well worth your attention.
Alice’s life is a bit of a mess. Actually, it’s a lot of a mess. She’s been sleeping with the boss which really isn’t a great idea, especially as her job in the financial sector has gone totally pear shaped and she now owes the company hundreds of thousands of pounds. And then the boyfriend/boss sacks her. Okay, so she gets to chuck a cup of coffee over the rat, but there’s still a massive debt to deal with. But as chance would have it her Swiss father, who she has not seen since she was a child, has died recently and left her his house. All she has to do is to go to Switzerland, chuck granny in a home and sell the house. Problem solved. She spent her early childhood in the idyllic Swiss village but somehow has forgotten it. Maybe it’s time to rediscover her roots and find out what really matters in life.
Jump is one of those genuinely feel good films that reels you in instantly and doesn’t let you go. When we first encounter Alice, she is not a particularly likeable character. Caught up in the rat-race, her cosmopolitan world of designer clothes, mobile phones and hair straighteners represents a typical materialistic lifestyle that so many seem to aspire to. She couldn’t really care less that her father has died, she’s just completely pragmatic about the situation. She can solve all her problems by selling his property, with no thought for her elderly grandmother. It is when she takes the trip to the small Swiss town of her childhood, befriending a boy who has epilepsy and later rekindles a forgotten friendship with the charming and rather handsome Luca, that she is forced to slow down, re-evaluate her life and realise what’s actually important.
The primary theme of Jump is that of friendship and how it is possible to address the past and come to terms with it. Alice effectively lost her childhood when her parents split up. Her visit to the village gives her the opportunity to confront what actually happened and, in so doing, she comes to learn about the complicated series of events through the eyes of her adult self; and to understand how much hurt, how much pain affected so many lives. How things might have turned out so differently for all involved. How everyone makes mistakes in life, but that’s okay.
Writer/director Bindu de Stoppani wrote the script for Jump nine years ago, but it evolved many times in the intervening years. She describes herself as a hopeless romantic and wanted to write a film about love, but the seed of this story for her was about friendship. She was also interested in exploring the theme of lost relationships. Additionally, she was deeply affected by witnessing the seizures of a close friend who had epilepsy, and how strong emotions can trigger a fit. Half-Swiss herself, de Stoppani remembers the village from her childhood with a certain melancholy. A beautiful setting for the film, many parts of the area have not moved with the times and the beauty of the village and surrounding landscape remains untouched.
Well constructed, funny, bittersweet and genuinely uplifting, Jump deservedly won a number of awards at the British Independent Film Festival.