Sunday, 21 November 2010

Patrick Keiller

To the BFI Southbank (I hadn't realised it had changed its name from the NFT, but I haven't been for some years) to see Robinson in Ruins followed by a panel discussion. This article in yesterday's Guardian explains the background much more eloquently than I can. I managed to book the very last ticket online on Friday and the film started just after I finished work.

I liked it, but I preferred the previous two films. I must say I loved Paul Schofield's narration and found Vanessa Redgrave's less engaging, also on this occasion I felt that the camera lingered just that little too long on the locations, especially in the agricultural scenes - the lack of people was very noticeable and I'm sure deliberate, making a point about the industrialised countryside. In most locations, together with birdsong and sounds of rustling undergrowth, there was the almost omnipresent noise of aircraft or traffic.

As usual there was a great deal of useful if often depressing information and statistics about defence establishments, the amount of cereals used as animal feed, evidence for global warming and species extinction, but the kind of arcane connections made in the first two films were less in evidence here. The panel discussion at the end never really got a chance to get going as there were too many participants (including Doreen Massey and Patrick Wright) who would have been good value on their own and too little time. Apparently a book based on the film's 'research project' is on the way, written by members of the panel.

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