With one hundred and fifty books to his name and decades of being in the spotlight, Colin Wilson is a legend of the literary world. His books have explored everything from the infamous ... See full summary »
Everyone knows now about the Sixties revolution but it was in London's Soho district in 1950s that the seeds of the Sixties were sown. Where it all began. It was the blast furnace that made it happen. Sometimes not a pretty sight but nothing worth having is borne without the effort of a few looking for change. The 1950s was running its course and a new era beckoned.Written by
Clever, Challenging and Beautiful - A Welcome Return To Cinema Verite
This is a very clever film. Set in 1959 in London's Soho "village" it chronicles the history of the place from its faded grandeur of the past through its literary centre of excellence during the era of the "Angry Young Men", on into its descent from a gentle Bohemian laissez-faire to the sharper, more harsh culture of drugs and sex, a further contrast between the birth of CND and the exploitative commercialism of TV advertising and ultimately the self-destruction of the spirit of the area.
Played out through the eyes of an ingénue writer juxtaposed with a louche, vulnerable and ultimately destructive bohemian actor, it is kept rattling along through the medium of an on-going documentary on people and life, and the film never lets up. With a visual style that emulates the gritty reality of the time, this film informs, challenges and shocks in equal measure. It is fascinating in the traditional art-house style and has moments of exquisite cinematic beauty.
The players execute an engaging screenplay effectively, given that in no case, due to the nature of the film, is there any character development beyond that which is before you. These are not easy characters and for me the actors involved, both leads and supporters did an excellent job. But the film is not really about them. They merely serve to point the viewer along the chronicle of the piece.
It is different, intelligent, engaging, challenging and miles away from the mainstream churned-out film-making that is so prevalent today. This harks back to the true art of cinema verite and I loved it. Yes, a bigger budget could have provided a bit more padding, but to say that is to miss the point of the film.
The title is misleading as it points to the ingénue. But ultimately it is Soho itself that is adrift.
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