ANTI-PASTORAL FILMS?

I have been watching and greatly enjoying a recent(ish) crop of British films all engaging with landscape in intriguing and surprising ways. The Selfish Giant (2013) and Dark River (2018) by Clio Barnard, The Levelling by Hope Dickson-Leach and God’s Own Country (2017) by Francis Lee all engage with rural or edgeland landscapes in downbeat, and often brutal ways, with a welcome amount of female and LGBT perspectives. Watching these films makes me feel that cinema has perhaps caught up with a trend in fiction that we can see in the work of writers such as Cynan Jones, Ben Myers and Niall Griffiths; as well as being in the mould of films (usually more urban) by the director Andrea Arnold (who made the amazing Fish Tank, set in London’s porous outer limits). Work engaging directly with modern Britain, with no bucolic fantasies or easy fantasies of the countryside. All highly recommended.

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