Film From All The World

Bridport Film Society has announced details of its programme for the 2016-17 season. It comprises a selection of contemporary films from all over the world, including Chile, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Ukraine, Turkey, Iran, France, Germany, Italy, UK and Belgium.

“Each year, our programming committee spends many hours watching and debating the merits of more than 60 films in pursuit of thought-provoking and inspiring choices,” said Chris Pike, BFS’s chairman. “This year’s selection is richly diverse and full of hidden gems.”

The season kicks off on Tues 27 Sept with Victoria, a thriller about two hours in the life of an immigrant worker in Germany, which develops intense suspense over an amazingly unedited single take. Other season highlights are Palio, which looks at Siena’s famous bareback horse race; Alejandro Jodorowsky’s surreal coming of age tale, The Dance of Reality; and Tangerines, a story of gentle reconciliation bridging the ethnic divide in a Georgian village.


The BFS will also host a special event on Tuesday Dec 13 as a fund-raiser for Bridport Arts Centre.

Full details available at www.bridportfilmsociety. Printed brochures available from the Bookshop, Fruits of the Earth and from the BFS stall outside the Arts Centre on Saturday Aug 27 from 10am to 1pm. Full season membership costs £35, and typically reaches capacity well before the start of the season.

By |August 26th, 2016|Film|0 Comments

Fistful of Tacos

Fistful of Tacos
Mexican street food
Behind Waitrose Thurs to Sat, 5pm-9pm
BR Rating ****

By Alison Lang

A friend mentioned to me that Bridport never used to be hip.
Well it must have had a hip replacement. The one thing I thought was missing was Mexican food, but now that’s sorted with a super van parked at the back of Punch and Judy bakery, just behind Waitrose, serving proper Mexican street food.

Delicious home-made slow-cooked pulled pork, Beef Brisket and Chipotle chicken in soft tacos and burritos with all the fixings, plus a beautiful vegetarian option with sweet potato.

It’s quite clever as a family connection allows them to use the ovens at Punch and Judy bakery when the bread baking has finished for the day. From chefing at the Bull, Avenue and the Watch House, Gerry Page and Mattias Larsson now make it all Mexican.

Grab a seat or take a taco home.

By |August 16th, 2016|Alison Lang, Food & Drink|0 Comments

The Tempest of Lyme

Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis
BR Rating ****
[Until Sunday 24 July]

By John Pownall

We know that Shakespeare used a multiplicity of sources, literary and historical. That The Tempest, the richest of his texts for what the academies call ‘postcolonial’ studies, derived in part from a true tale about colonists on their way to Virginia is perhaps no surprise. That there is a Lyme Regis connection certainly is surprising, however. The source narrative begins in the Dorset seaport in the early part of the seventeenth century, just as England was establishing its fledgling empire.

What a great idea, then, to weave together the two strands; the Shakespeare with the source. This is the premise of Andrew Rattenbury’s partial re-write. The action begins inside the theatre, and then the audience, players and musicians troop out at the end of the First Act to take in the rest of the production outside, just below the bar balcony, with the backdrop of Lyme Bay. This is site-specific theatre; we feel as though we are on an island, the July heatwave persuading us that we are somewhere very far away.

The idea largely works to great effect. The two stories segue into each other nicely, the actual storm and casting away being the touchstone for both tales. The thorny and problematic issue of Caliban’s subjection is not contextualised by the colonial narrative, which for some may have been a missed trick. Nevertheless, this is a production which generally plays for laughter more than reflection, and is highly entertaining as a result.

The writer, director and players have worked hard to give a sense that this is one vision, and that huge team effort, combined with wonderful music and soundscapes from Andrew Dickson and his assembled musicians, carries the night along at pace. Visually, the production is wonderful, with rich and varied costuming, and clever lighting and staging. For a first night, it was almost pitch perfect.

Performances are uniformly creditable. Anne King is a forceful Gonzala (feminised as with many characters in the production, no doubt by force of casting issues). Val Christmas is a very funny Trincula, adeptly abetted by John Simpson as the drunken Stephano. Ariel is cleverly portrayed by six young women who play her at once as a disparate voiced spirit. Marcus Wood is a wonderfully energetic and engaging Sebastian. The love story is beautifully captured by Bramble Wallace’s nuanced Miranda, and Joe Urqhart’s charming and masterful Ferdinand. Declan Duffy plays local penman Sylvester Jourdain with cheeky panache. There is no weak link in this broad cast of players young and old.

Nicola Kathrens plays Prospera (rather than Prospero), one of the most poetically stretching in Shakespeare’s works, with great energy and vitality. At the end, the audience showed her their considerable appreciation, richly deserved as simply getting all those lines right on the first night is a challenge for even the most adept professional.

This was a wonderfully exuberant production, brought to Lyme by its own people. The moment which stood out: a very young audience member’s searching eyes in the evening sky for a storm cloud described by Trincula, straight from the script. There wasn’t a storm cloud in the sky, of course, but the boy still tried to find it, so convinced was he by the rendition of the poetry. Such stuff as dreams are made on.

By |July 20th, 2016|John Pownall|1 Comment

Bridport’s Best Outing

Elegy Written in a Country Dump
By Nick Pitt

You find yourself at a loose end. The weather’s fair and you need to get out.
I know, I’ll go to… West Bay? Hive Beach? Eype? Pilsdon Pen?

No. Go to the new dump, Bridport’s number-one attraction. Easy access. No ticket required. Free parking. Plenty to do.

Nothing to dump? Don’t worry. Go there empty-handed. Go purely for the experience.

On entering the site, observe, with a thrill of virtuousness, the sign that records that last month 65% of waste has been recycled. Park and sit comfortably. Imagine for a moment the old dump. The queues; the tight turns and spaces; those iron ladders; the hauling of garden waste, or waiting at the base while some codger creeps down; the dirt; the dump men dressed as pirates; and no doubt some paltry recycling percentage.

Now compare. Oh bliss. Watch the happy folk of Bridport and far beyond get rid of rubbish, and with such leisured ease. And what of the dump men? Same fellows, but these are operatives. No longer do they retreat to their cabin with sandwiches from Morrisons. They have meals delivered to their office. Now they smile and parade their domain like lords.

Look up and take in the wider vista, the surrounding landscape of mounds, trees and lake. What hand and eye shaped such symmetry? Forget Stowe and Chatsworth for Capability Brown never achieved such sympathetic grandeur. Reflect that like the ranks of saplings all around, this magnificence will grow.

Alas, and all too soon, the shadows lengthen and the church clock sounds the knell of parting day. The dump’s work is done. The key is turned in the ignition, the wheels turn away. Outside the gates of majesty, all seems humdrum, normal life resumes. Do not be sad. Rejoice. The Bridport dump, once a slough of despond, is now a gleaming citadel.

By |May 23rd, 2016|Nick Pitt|2 Comments

Elaine Beckett

Elaine BeckettFaber New Poets 13
Available from The Book Shop, South Street, £5

BR Rating *****

By John Pownall

Elaine Beckett is a Faber New Poet. She lives here in the Bridport area, and has written for the Review on several occasions. She is one of 16 selected by Faber, the publishing house that is the apotheosis of poetry publishing.

Elaine arrives with a collection of 15 poems, none of them overlong, and all of them seemingly accessible and lucent. This is the trick of her work, to have the surface of simplicity, but the depth of complexity.

The opening poem, for example, Melting, appears to work on a simple narrative level. A conversation is struck up between strangers; a fishmonger and his customer –the poet herself perhaps. It’s the melting of polar ice and social barriers which works the core meanings in the poem; everything is going to water, it seems, including the atmosphere outside the shop:

..he sloshed about with his bucket/and I enjoyed the rain/that was coming down like a veil/between us, and the passers by

So ends the piece. The collision of sibilants acting as a sonic echo to the poem’s meanings; everything is liquid – even the consonants.

The collection takes in a broad range of ostensible subjects; ecological issues sit side by side with stories of love and loss, and indeed it is the latter which often stand out. A poem such as The Woman Who Cries does what any great psychological poem should: it encapsulates a moment, or series of moments, that resonates in a life – it distils, even more successfully than a good short story does, the gist of an epiphany. Here, the poet (perhaps) receives a postcard of a Picasso painting, and a message from (one assumes) her lover. The message instructs her not to be the woman in the painting:

don’t be La femme Qui Pleure –

it says. First she thinks of the poor woman in the painting, but then turns to think of him, the lover who sent the postcard:

a man who could match me to a painting/that summarised the trouble we were in.

That final couplet is utterly perfect, and astoundingly revelatory. This is tight, polished, wonderfully economical language that signifies a depth and acuteness of feeling, subtly understated because of the tightness of the verse.

Possibly the best poem of the collection, Sometime This Month, is saved until the end. It is a lovely lyric about spring that updates Wordsworth and Shelley with its talk of texting boys and sunbathing girls. It works with repetition and wonderfully observed detail, and is worth quoting at length for the effect of its music:

By the hedge at the end of the lane/where the gate has swung open,a may tree will bloom; /
Five petals to each milk flower, pink- /tipped with stamens; a thousand buds/ by the hedge at the end of the lane.

The poem pivots on these alternating tautologies, the may tree blooming, the hedge at the end of the lane, focussing our eye upon and tuning our ear to the patterns and rhythms of the year as they pass. But this is not picture postcard nature:

… boys walking home/will be struck by the stink of it down/by the hedge.

What is it here that stinks? The blossom, nature, or is there something else going on – the hint of sex perhaps as they check their text messages in the following stanza? Spring is about fecundity, not just prettiness – you sense that somewhere in the undergrowth, off the page, other stamens and buds will be ripening.

Beckett’s poetry is strong and effective; not a word is wasted. Faber has, as you would expect, selected extremely well.

    • Elaine Beckett’s collection can also be bought online from the Faber shop: Click here.

 

By |April 12th, 2016|Elaine Beckett, John Pownall|0 Comments