Wednesday, 31 October 2018


This bypassed me - anybody seen it? Any cop?

At Pop Matters, John A. Riley writes:

"Arcadia compiles footage from the British Film Institute's sprawling national archive to create an impressionistic collage film about rural Britain...

"... Paul Wright's film is primed to be received in the context of two related phenomena: Hauntology and Folk Horror. Both represent new ways of thinking about our relationship to time and place, and of finding the sinister within the everyday, the former by emphasizing repressed pasts and failed futures, the latter by emphasizing sinister textures and themes lurking below the surface of Britain's rural communities. However, it may be equally if not more helpful to think of Arcadia as a sculpture done in paracinema: countless hours of public service announcements, promotional and instructional videos, and amateur-shot footage, are here given an unruly second lease of life....

"...  a dizzying assemblage of bucolic, folkloric footage; maypole dancing and sundry village festivities that wouldn't look out of place in The Wicker Man, harvesting crops, hunting, bucolic landscapes. Occasionally footage from a well-known narrative film, such as an unmistakable glimpse of Helen Mirren from Herostratus, is thrown into the mix.... 

".... The film doesn't present the archive footage chronologically, which means that a variety of formats, from badly damaged silent-era film to pristine 35mm, to home formats such as VHS and Super 8, all brush up against each other to dizzying, sometimes foreboding effect. The film works by associating, linking things in a montage chain that, in one example, goes from the pageantry of traditional village celebrations such as Morris dancing and 'Obby 'Oss festivals, to the '60s counterculture, exemplified by a patronizingly interviewed hippy who says he celebrates love "by doing psychedelic freakouts every now and again" to more recent times, through images of the kind of barnyard raves beloved by the '80s/'90s rave generation, as the soundtrack works itself up into a relentless pulse.... 

" Arcadia is a frequently fascinating, often unsettling look at traditions and places that can often feel like they are vanishing before our eyes."

Riley also praises the score by Portishead's Adrian Utley and Goldfrapp's Will Gregory.... 

"The eclectic score, at times evoking Debussy, at other times sounding like '90s lounge music revival (not surprising given its composers), and at one point breaking out into an ominously-tinged '70s bovver rock stomp, is worthy of serious standalone consideration..."


  1. I've not seen it but I remember when it came out that there was a flap over the essay that was published on the launch website. It was by Paul Kingsnorth and was deemed by some to be dodgy - verging on the "blood and soil" school of landscape / folk writing. How fair that was I dunno, cos it was withdrawn before I went to read it. But of course, even though it was a response to the film by a third party, it means if I do ever watch it I'll be looking out for signs of that sort of thing. Bloody writers, eh? ;)

  2. Are there any plans to re-upload the wondrous two episodes of Found Objects TV?

    1. Sorry, MR, I suspect those are lost objects now. Can you remember who uploaded them originally?

    2. Bollops, I think it was Mr Unman-Wittering, who also made them, if I remember right. I saved them as MP4s if you're curious to see them.

  3. I am not going to monitor this post from now on. If anyone wants to contact me they can do so via my blog.