It is 1958, and the final debutante 'season'. Mary, a brilliant young writer and critic is befriended by Geraldine, a seemingly friendly young debutante of a similar age but a very ... See full summary »

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Mary Gilbert / Geraldine
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It is 1958, and the final debutante 'season'. Mary, a brilliant young writer and critic is befriended by Geraldine, a seemingly friendly young debutante of a similar age but a very different background. What starts as a friendship becomes something altogether more unsettling. Written by Anonymous

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monologue | See All (1) »

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Drama

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10 November 2007 (UK)  »

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1.78 : 1
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Spin-off Capturing Mary (2007) See more »

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Enchantment Personified
1 May 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This is an exquisite 45 minute film written and directed by the amazing Stephen Poliakoff. It is a prequel to the longer film CAPTURING MARY (2007, see my review). The film is so bizarre and original that it nearly defies description. But then Poliakoff himself defies description, which is why one is continually bedazzled by anything he does. In fact, the brain-dead nonentities who run the BBC these days have one and only one redeeming quality: for reasons doubtless unknown to them, and ordained by Fate, those morons allow Poliakoff to get away with anything. And he does, by which I mean he succeeds in weaving enchanting webs of mystery and longing over and over and over again. This film has only one actress, who plays two characters (never seen in the same scene, but only talking on the phone with each other), a young actress named Ruth Wilson, of astonishing brilliance. I would go so far as to say that she has possibly delivered the most amazing dramatic monologues in television drama history, twice over (for she plays both characters, each of whom delivers monologues, and as one also mimics and imitates the other, you could even say thrice over). Why on earth Ruth Wilson is not a super-star by now I cannot imagine, as her talent is stratospheric. She seems to have languished in television series not worthy of her. Is that because people are afraid of her? They should be. Of course she appears again in CAPTURING MARY, but apart from that, her threat to eclipse all other actresses has been safely contained by not giving her the parts which would allow her to do it. She appears to be the victim of a conspiracy not to recognise her. But Poliakoff, clever chap that he is, saw what others turn away from. No averted gazes for Poliakoff, he looks directly at things. And in this film, Ruth Wilson suitably looks directly at camera for most of the time. And she has a silent and immovable Greek chorus, three meditative dalmatian dogs, who sit and look at her as if they are listening to her monologues intently. To say this film is eccentric is to understate the case. There simply has never been anything else like it. Poliakoff is in his own multiple universes, all dictated by his own personal solutions to the quantum mechanical wave equations. One cannot count the dimensions of the private spaces he inhabits, as they extend endlessly, none obeying the laws of mathematics at all. This film incorporates marvellous old black and white footage of 1958, the year in which it takes place, all typical of Poliakoff's continual evocations of lost eras, moods, and modulations, greatly aided by the marvellous music which accompanies most of his excursions into Proustian 'lost time', including this one. This gem of a film is hidden away as a guilty little secret under Special Features (Extras) of the DVD of CAPTURING MARY, however anyone interested in the most spell-binding of monologues should buy the DVD just for this. It is not available in any other way. You really have to see it to believe it, and even then you won't. The BBC cowards don't even list the title of this film on the cover of the DVD, you have to read the small print on the back, which few people ever do. Why cover up the existence of this cinematic gem and try to pretend it was never made? What are they afraid of? That they might be accused of producing something so subtle that the chatterati cannot cope with it?


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