Shooting the Past

I mentioned this in my last post.

It’s lived rent free in my head since it first aired in 1999.

Finding it available online has been the highlight of the week, nay, the highlight of all the years since first watching it.

It’s a long watch – over three, 1 hour episodes; but, if memory serves me at all well, the incredible writing, stellar cast, and eternal themes will make this weekend’s viewing well worth while.

This technically flawless and beautifully acted work was the first of three long-format television plays which gained Stephen Poliakoff a much wider audience and consolidated his reputation as one of Britain’s foremost writers. All three plays deal with themes of family and history, but Shooting the Past is the most contemporary and the most political.

The series is a heartfelt cry against what Poliakoff sees as the rampant philistinism of capitalism that has gradually infiltrated British attitudes towards culture and heritage. The photo archive seems to represent the ‘old’ Britain, with its eccentricities and core values – a portrait which could come straight out of an Ealing film – while the American company is the hard face of the market, with Anderson as the anti-hero who eventually sees the light in an audience-pleasing conclusion. But there’s a sense of urgency underneath the somewhat wish-fulfilling narrative which suggests a darker reality; Oswald’s despair and attempted suicide have a ring of truth which bring us up short.

British Film Institute Review

Hopefully it won’t disappoint!

(I seem to have developed a habit of disappearing for ages, then posting twice in one day; haven’t I?)

About A Misanthropic Bear

Intermittent posting of random touchstones, memories and events. This wasn't meant to be what it would become... But then, is it ever?
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4 Responses to Shooting the Past

  1. … And then disappearing for ages, again… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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