In the middle of a cold, long winter like this one, what could be better than a walk by the sea in the light summer breeze? Or running up the pier to beat your friends to the ice-cream stand? Or just sitting on the sand, idly playing with the hem of your towel?
Well, how about curling up somewhere warm(ish) and cosy and watching all this (and more, in colour as well as and in black and white!) on the screen?
British director Penny Woolcock (Mischief Night, 1 Day) was commissioned to make “a documentary about the sea” based on footage held in the archives of the British Film Institute and our regular contributor Sophie Mayer praises her efforts highly:
“Newsreels, British Transport Films and the Central Office of Information offer the filmmaker a trove of depictions of working class life, riches offered to the viewer in a repeated shot of a fish haul glinting in the keel of a boat. Unlike contemporary reality TV or ‘shock docs’, these films cast an interested gaze at labour and leisure, and there’s often a joyful moment when the subject catches the camera’s eye, stamping their authority on the way they are seen…the BFI Archives that offer such an unlimited, and unlimiting, view of the real British sea power: not the Royal Navy, but the fish-gutting, high-diving, rock-climbing, shipbuilding, ballroom-dancing people.”
From the Sea to the Land beyond is released on DVD by BFI.