Thursday, 20 August 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 248: Sat Sep 5

Penda's Fen (Clarke, 1974): Whitechapel Gallery, 3pm


This is part of the Scalarama film season. You can find all the details for the September screenings if you click on the link here

Here is the Whitechapel Gallery introduction to today's event:
A rare 16mm screening of Alan Clarke’s remarkable 1974 BBC Play for Today, one of the masterworks of British television drama. The screening will be introduced by its writer, David Rudkin, who will also be in conversation. The afternoon is opened with live music by multi-instrumentalist Bird Radio. The event also marks the launch of The Edge Is Where the Centre Is, a major new book exploring the making of the film, edited by Sukhdev Sandhu and published in association with Seen Studio.

Time Out review of Penda's Fen (the magazine voted the film at No76 in their top 100 British films list here):
This remarkable feature length television film – commissioned for the legendary 1970s ‘Play for Today’ single drama series – is often described as a step ‘off piste’ for its director Alan Clarke. That’s a misleading reading, however. The work’s qualities of resistance, questioning and personal and public transformation are entirely in keeping with the normally urban-centric filmmaker’s milieu. But the real credit lies with its writer David Rudkin. An astonishing playwright with a visionary reach and a genuine sense of ‘deep England’ and its radical potential, Rudkin here crafts a multi-layered reading of contemporary society and its personal, social, sexual, psychic and metaphysical fault lines. Fusing Elgar’s ‘Dream of Gerontius’ with a heightened socialism of vibrantly localist empathy, and pagan belief systems with pre-Norman histories and a seriously committed – and prescient – ecological awareness, ‘Penda’s Fen’ is a unique and important statement, rumoured soon – finally – to be available on DVD
Gareth Evans

Here (and above) is a pretty terrifying extract.

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