Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Night Mail

GB 1936. PC: General Post Office Film Unit. P: John Grierson. D+SC: Basil Wright, Harry Watt. DP: H.E. Fowle, Jonah Jones. ED: R.Q. McNaughton. M: Benjamin Britten. Poem: W.H. Auden. 24 min. A BFINA print screened at 1,2:1 at Cinema Orion (History of the Cinema), Helsinki, 15 Dec 2010.

Revisited a classic work of the British documentary movement. I did not remember that the first 20 minutes are just sober, straight (and excellent) documentary as exciting as an action film. This is the story of a mail train from London to Scotland, a celebration of professionalism. First during the last three minutes does the film burst into a special poetic mode. A celebration of modernity and a masterpiece of montage. The print is mostly good with some shots with weaker definition.

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