The eyes have it: Stills from Village of the Damned, Passport to Pimlico and The First Movie

In order to stem the tide of my perpetual catch-up in this (often) ill-conceived attempt to write about every film I watch, I present this mass posting, where I write a brief something about some of the British titles I have caught over the last couple of months but have neither the time nor inclination to expand upon further.

Here goes nothing…

The Village of the Damned
d. Wolf Rilla / 1960 / UK / 77 mins

Nice little creepy MGM-backed Brit-chiller, although very much a B-picture (in the nicest possible way!) Produced, no doubt, to fit neatly into double-bills, this original adaptation of John Wyndham’s The Midwich Cuckoos suffers somewhat from a severe truncation and a rather abrupt ending, but manages to win over audiences with a batch of brilliant set pieces and a wealth of sheer creepiness.

Passport to Pimlico
d. Henry Cornelius / 1944 / UK / 84 mins

Typically Ealing in its treatment of a small band of Average Joes (or should that be Average Tom, Dick and Harrys?) against the might of institutions. There are obvious parallels to be made here with the personal responsibility of each and every city and village in the UK during WWII, along with an allegory about the importance of exercising wartime restraint and community respect. A true classic of British cinema.

“Blimey! I’m a foreigner!”

And now for something completely different…

The First Movie
d. Mark Cousins / 2009 / UK / 76 mins

A wonderfully poignant, poetic and personal documentary from Mark Cousins which, without fuss or favour, rejects popular images of Iraq by giving us a glimpse into the lives of one set of villagers in Kurdistan. After screening a series of films – from E.T. (Steven Spielberg, 1982) to Where is the Friend’s Home? (Abbas Kiarostami, 1997) – for the children of the village, most of whom had never seen a film, Cousins gives them basic HD handycams and allows them to shoot whatever they want, with intriguing results. Highly recommended.

Stay tuned for more…

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