It is summer. Thirteen year old Janey and her family settle into their isolated cottage for another perfect seaside holiday. Her days are full of swimming and fishing. At night her parents give parties where the adults drink, dance and flirt.
Janey is increasingly aware of the cracks in her parents’ marriage. Watching her mother begin an affair with a visiting photographer, she starts to discover her own sexuality. Janey decides to grow up quickly. Too quickly…
In 1994 London based, New Zealand writer Kirsty Gunn published her first novel 'Rain'. It received international acclaim and identified Gunn as 'a new author of undeniable talent' (Sunday Times, London). The novel was described as a 'small masterpiece' (Fay Weldon in the Sunday Mail) and The Guardian called it 'beautifully controlled and darkly powerful.'
The novel is characterised by Gunn's arresting and beautiful use of language. 'I really loved the sense of atmosphere and foreboding in the novel and also the reflection on childhood.' says Christine Jeffs, director of RAIN. The challenge for Jeffs was to recreate those elements in the medium of film. 'I spent a long time trying to persuade other people that there was a film in there. A story about the detail of everyday life, that was worth translating to the screen.'
Christine Jeffs, one of New Zealand's foremost commercials directors, has received accolades at Sundance and Cannes with her short film 'Stroke'. Rain is her first feature film. She spent four years working on the script. 'This is my first film script, and I learned a lot from the process of writing it.’
John Toon, was involved from the film's inception as cinematographer and associate producer. Robin Scholes joined the production team as executive producer, and eventually Philippa Campbell, who also worked on the script, was recruited as producer.
One of the crucial elements fell into place when Neil Finn came on board to compose the music for the film. Jeffs has directed music clips for Finn. 'Neil read the script and loved it' she explains. 'He's never done any film composition before. It's a chance for him to go where he's never gone before so he's very excited.'