Pentlow Film Club – April 2013

Spring has come, more or less, and the Club members were all recovered, more or less, from the horrible winter, and people came out in impressive numbers to watch Mike Leigh’s film Another Year. It was our biggest audience yet, and it filled the hall to near capacity.

The film is very understated, and is less a story with a beginning, middle and end, as a situation, a statement of relationships. It ends not so much with a resolution as with more understanding of the people involved, and an awareness that people don’t change. In a sense it is a meditation on loneliness and how the different people involved: Mary, Ken and Ronnie, manage their loneliness according to their own capacity for happiness. I felt that every character in the film reflected an aspect of each of us, the audience, picking up and expressing something we all understood only too well. Depression, anger, grief, need and loneliness were all vividly present in the silences rather than the words, pointed up by the central happy and contented family of Tom, Gerry and Joe, the yardstick by which the other characters were seen. The final scene summed it up with the family round the supper table, Ronnie grieving but being cared for, and Mary utterly alone  because she was unable to accept the warmth that she so much needed. Mary was a wonderful presentation of a person forever asking for the wrong thing.

There were problems with the film: the portrayal of Gerry as a counsellor was as ham fisted as most ‘counselling’ scenes on film; sometimes it was difficult to follow the relationships as they unfolded. I understood a lot more on the second showing; perhaps he did overdo the understatement in the end. But it was beautifully paced, and the actors held the slow pace magnificently. The sound track was quiet and minimal. It was truly well worth seeing.

Our last film this season is on 17 May, so please come, be welcome and enjoy it with us.

Isobel Clark


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