Monday, 12 July 2010

Old, Weird Britain

An interesting article in this month's Sight and Sound by Rob Young called 'The Pattern under the Plough' (a quote from folklorist George Ewart Evans who wrote, amongst other things, a classic study of the hare in English folklore) on English films that draw on the landscape and folklore of olde Albion. I can pat myself on the back that I have seen most of the films mentioned - usual suspects mentioned in previous post plus Powell & Pressburger's A Canterbury Tale and Patrick Keiller's films. I'm sure I saw The Owl Service when it was originally on tv in 1969.

There are a number, however, that I have not yet seen but have mostly been aware of for some time: Winstanley, Derek Jarman's Journey to Avebury, Akenfield and Gallivant (Andrew Koetting came round our house to pick up a filing cabinet I was discarding, but I was out at the time, if I had known it was him I would have stayed in). Ones I hadn't heard of that sounded intriguing were Alfred the Great with David Hemmings and some obscure documentaries such as The Flora Faddy Furry Dance. The one that I have been wanting to see for many years was Penda's Fen by David Rudkin, a Play for Today from 1974 (what a brilliant concept that was); I don't remember seeing it although I saw a lot of those plays around that time - it is not available on dvd so it's very frustrating - it's always mentioned in articles of this kind so I would have thought a reissue was overdue. PS I have since discovered that Rob Young has a forthcoming book and blog called Electric Eden that overlaps at many points with my interests and have added it to the blog list opposite.

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