CANAL holidays might not sound the most glamorous but there is something serene about being in the compact confines of a narrowboat.

The gentle pace lets you clear your mind and live in the moment and the restricted living quarters and teamwork element of going through locks and mooring helps you bond with those you are travelling with.

It is also great for a story – by focusing the characters in one setting – as new filmmaker Tupaq Felber has proved.

Based on his own experiences on narrowboats, Felber’s beautifully shot black and white feature abandons cinematic convention by working with his cast for a wholly naturalistic approach and largely improvised dialogue.

It has paid off incredibly well and will bring memories flooding back if you have ever been on a similar trip with old friends.

Loaded with booze and a vague plan, Jon (Jon Foster), Red (Robyn Isaac), Zooby (Jamie Zubairi) and Simon (Simon Meacock) reunite on the waterways after life takes them on separate paths.

They unwind, take in the peaceful surroundings and revert to their playful youth but it becomes clear that there are some issues bubbling just below the surface.

Red finds solace in heavy drinking and is on her way to a wedding that Jamie is uncomfortable about.

And Jon welcomes the distraction of steering the boat from something that is troubling him.

Felber takes a gamble by offering no backstory, no reveals, no outcome – the audience has to simply take the clues and put their own meaning to it.

What it amounts to is a study of friendship weathered by insecurities and the passage of time, giving the film a melancholy quality to it.

It is not for everyone. Those who prefer a traditional narrative and story structure may find Felber’s approach frustrating or indulgent.

But this moving tale about old friendships that run deep evokes a feeling more than an outcome and there is plenty to relate to for anyone who’s ever felt lost or missed a loved one.

RATING: 8/10