Saturday, 14 August 2010

The London Nobody Knows

An outstanding, painfully moving, documentary that anticipates the whole hauntological continuum. There are pre-echoes of everything from Burial through to Dolly Dolly and Position Normal here, not only in tone, but in sound - the leaps between spectral music hall, cockney singalong, market banter and Radiophonic-like electronics. It reminds me of three other films from (roughly) the same era, each of which share the same sense of London as still a bombed-out city - The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, Lindsay Anderson's O Lucky Man! and Hitchcock's Frenzy.
The director has the an eye for faces that rivals that of Chris Marker, and each of the faces here - whether they belong to the kids or the down-and-outs - has an astonishingly poetic power.

Every era has its own faces - you don't see faces like that any more, in London or anywhere else...


  1. This is an astonishing film. Even where it has some unintentionally comic moments - such as James Mason trying to bond with the men in Salvation Army canteen by complaining about the price of a cup of tea - it's riveting viewing. And, as Mark says, moving too: 'the brotherhood of the leaky boot'...

  2. I've got this one on DVD. It's wonderfully made, but ultimately a bit much to watch for me. Perhaps a little too moving in places.

    I can't even watch the end of Kes, though, so...

    - Jb.

  3. This film runs though Dolly Dolly like Blackpool though a stick of rock. I ADORE it.

    But I'm with Jon on Kes can't watch for crying.