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Archive for January 4th, 2013

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by Allan Fish

(UK 1979 75m) DVD2

The land of lost content

p  Kenith Trodd  d  Brian Gibson  w  Dennis Potter

Colin Welland (Willie), Michael Elphick (Peter), Helen Mirren (Angela), Janine Duvitski (Audrey), Robin Ellis (John), Colin Jeavons (Donald Duck), John Bird (Raymond),

With its title derived from A.E.Housman’s 19th century poem “The Shropshire Lad”, one would be forgiven for expecting a nostalgic study of childhood, the type of which Hollywood was so fond.  Yet nostalgic isn’t really the word for this.  It does look back fondly at childhood, that much is true, yet it rather inverts the very notion of childhood, makes us see childhood through different eyes.  Among the individual plays written by Dennis Potter, none are so fondly remembered as this, which in many ways sums up the very double-layered appeal of the film.  It provokes nostalgia for nostalgia, and the way that it does so is truly unique; we don’t see children at all, what we see are a group of adults playing the roles of children – that simple notion changing the very fabric of the drama and twisting it on its head.  It succeeds, as Philip Purser wrote, in “throwing a whole new light on the business of being young.” (more…)

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