Film is a river

It is good to explore a river. One can proceed upstream, in search of a source whose precise location might never be determined. Or one can follow the river downstream until it widens out upon reaching the sea, the exact point on the map at which the one turns into the other being equally beyondRead More

Homes and works

A sturdy walking distance from here is Higham, a village midway on the main road from Rochester to Gravesend, with commanding views over the Medway valley and Thames Estuary. Here it was that Charles Dickens in his prosperous later years purchased a house that he had dreamed of living in when a child. His fatherRead More

Mini MOMI

Thirty years or so ago, the Museum of the Moving Image opened on London’s South Bank. Funded privately then operated by the British Film Institute, the museum traced the history of motion pictures from ‘pre-cinema’ days to the blockbusters of 1988. It was notable for the many rare and unique objects on show, for theRead More

Filming Windrush

I have been having an online discussion with a couple of journalists about newsreels of the Empire Windrush and the arrival of West Indians at Tilbury Docks on 21 June 1948. The Pathé newsreel has been repeatedly used in news programmes and documentaries, and has been widely shared on social media. The conversation brought upRead More

Island music

Reggae is island music. It is music that came out of the island of Jamaica, and in its true form could only derive from that place, but its island nature lies deeper. Islands are worlds unto themselves that nevertheless can only be defined by their relation to the worlds that lie beyond. They are proudlyRead More

Masks and faces

Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese, newly released theatrically and on Netflix, opens with a film by Georges Méliès. Escamotage d’une dame chez Robert-Houdin (1896), known in English as The Vanishing Lady, features Méliès in his familiar role as a magician, placing a woman (Jehanne d’Alcy) under a cloth and, throughRead More