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BFI, Stephen Street, London. W1
At some point in the late seventies or early eighties, the BBC ran a comprehensive season of Ealing Comedies. It stands out as an important part of my adolescent television experience – which many would say explains a lot.
A favourite has always been Passport to Pimlico (1949) for the location shots of immediate post-war London as well as the plucky defiance of the residents of Miramont Gardens. What’s disappointing of course is that it’s actually filmed in Lambeth on the other side of the river rather than in Pimlico itself. Nonetheless it formed an important picture in my young mind of “that London”.
If you haven’t seen it, get it and take a look. Spoilers may well follow…
Watching again, this weekend, I noticed many motifs that echo what I’m thinking about a lot with respect to self-organisation and emergent behaviour, but in particular two examples of herd activity – firstly, the way in which the idea spreads through the community that they are Burgundians and therefore need no longer comply with the post-war austerity measures or indeed any English law they dislike and then later how the crowd gathered to witness the defeat and evacuation copy the kids who have come to throw provisions to their parents (the kids who got the idea from seeing the penguins fed at the zoo).
And I laughed out loud a lot too.
Thanks to another @danlight & @sizemore collaboration I went to see a screening of City of Men tonight – it’s a follow-on from two things I haven’t seen so I can’t do the comparisons that others might, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It felt like Macbeth meets Romeo and Juliet in a very hot place with guns and motorbikes.
It made me think about being a father, having a father, being a let down as a father, being let down by your father, being let down by your friends, being a let down to your friends, the stuff everyone knows about you except you, finding hope in the smallest things, having hopes dashed repeatedly, motorbike taxis wtf?, not knowing what’s going on, losing everything, carrying on, the difficulty of attacking an enemy with an elevated position, what it must be like to shoot a gun, being in a gang, being on the outside of a gang, unconsciousness, what it must be like to be shot, to see a flash and have your flesh ripped by a bullet, how hot it can get, how good it is to shout in the sea.
So yeah, quite a lot really.
Photo from adman_as on flickr by-nc-sa