Scouring 100 years of archive footage, mainly from the BFI National Archive, BAFTA winner Paul Wright constructs an exhilarating study of the British people’s shifting – and contradictory – relationship to the land. The film goes on a sensory, visceral journey through the contrasting seasons, taking in folk carnivals and fetes, masked parades, water divining and harvesting. Set to a grand, expressive new score from Adrian Utey (Portishead) and Will Gregory (Goldfrapp) alongside folk music from the likes of Anne Briggs, Wright’s captivating film essay captures the beauty and brutality, and the magic and madness of rural Britain.
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Showings of this film are part of our Cinematheque season which is supported by the British Film Institute.
“You don’t need to be English – or even British – to appreciate this brilliantly constructed film. Though unlikely to reach a wide audience, it is an example of art for art’s sake that is nevertheless profoundly accessible. Its historical imagery may make you nostalgic; you may find yourself weeping for what was lost, even if it was somebody else’s dream; or you may surrender to the spell and dream once more, even if you know that there’s no future in it.” Eye for Film (4 ½ out of 5 stars)
“From the beauty and poetry that continues to inspire, to the blood and horror that has potholed so much of our history, Arcadia is a visually experimental and enchanting journey through time.” The Digital Fix