This is a wonderful, kaleidoscopic and quirky portrait of the city of which one can never tire. The past 100 years are presented in roughly chronological order, but with ample allusions that tie contemporary events to those of the past. The message is clear: London is not its monuments, its parks or even its history, but rather its people. And what a diverse, determined and fascinating people they are.
Temple does a masterful job in putting the widest possible range of London on display: from the race riots that have permeated the city's modern history to the jazz and gay clubs of Soho, from the dockyard workers to the City bankers, from Brixton to Mayfair. In the two hours that sweep by so quickly, you feel like you have yourself lived through a century of what, you become convinced, is the world's most remarkable and resilient metropolis.
The editing of the film, both visually and musically, is brilliant, with connections and juxtapositions made boldly and, just as often, subtly. The technique of using London's extensive closed circuit camera system as a unifying device is both effective and subversive: you frequently feel like you are a voyeur, intruding on some of the most personal moments while being propelled unrelentingly forward.
I saw several films at TIFF this year, many with a lot more buzz, but in the end this is the one that will stay with me the longest and the one that I really look forward to seeing again.
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