Stunning and accomplished TV play that they just done make any more with a beautiful restoration.
Made for the BBC 'Play for Today' series in 1974 and written by visionary David Rudkin, this is a film that still manages to have a massive impact even after the passing of so many years. It is about Stephen Franklin who is the son of a rather profound Reverend. He is about to turn eighteen and is going through a rites of passage crisis. This is both spiritual and sexual.
He is unintentionally spurred on by the left wing views of a Socialist writer who is now living in the small rural village and he is smitten with the music of Elgar. The film tracks his spiral towards finding who he really is, his nature as opposed to his nurtured self. His posh school is the sort that has Greek and Latin mottos everywhere, one such being 'discover thyself' but his discoveries lead him to be seen as 'not one of the team.
The film is replete with imagery and ghosts or dreams of the past which reflects the journey that Stephen is going on but also helps to expand the stories behind the story and is often done in an iconic fashion. It is also beautifully framed and shot and the musical score helps to elucidate more meaning from seemingly simplistic imagery. This is one of those films that will make you think and is the sort that will give you more on subsequent viewings. I am already wanting to see it again as there is so much here to drink in with both your eyes and mind that I a bound to have missed some on my first viewing. Absolutely recommended to anyone interested in this time in TV development or those who love a stunningly well made, written and directed film.
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