In the same week as I watched The Selfish Giant, one of the most beautiful, compassionate and poetic films I have seen in a long time, Maxy Bianco, director of The Can House, comes out with with a series of four films he calls Another England. We call them Northern Soul.
Here, his collaborator, the writer we know as Michael Smith, tells us more about the films ahead of his presentation of a couple of them at the Caught by the River Social Club on 11 November (JB):
Another England is a cycle of films by me and Maxy Bianco, exploring the North Eastern town where we grew up. It is a meditation on this marginal, sometimes otherworldly place, and the characters that haunt it. The four films each tell a different story, but all ask the same central question in different ways: what does it mean to belong to somewhere?
All four films explore different aspects of the complexity of belonging: Old Town through the eyes of a prodigal son returning, Granada through the prism of an old neighbourhood and a family history crumbling below the wrecking balls of an urban redevelopment scheme, “Black Beach” through the vanishing way of life of the Tantobies and their horses and carts scratching a living on a derelict, coal-covered beach, and finally, Blue Lagoon through the eyes of the misfits who have a romantic and even mystical connection to the wildlife and the haunting sense of place of the petrochemical estuary on the edges of the town.