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Shooting the Past (1999) [DVD]
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Winner of the Prix Italia. Written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff. Starring Lindsay Duncan, Timothy Spall, Liam Cunningham, Billie Whitelaw, Emilia Fox, Arj Baker and Blake Ritson.
As the representative of a US corporation, Christopher Anderson is developing a country house on the outskirts of London into a business school for the 21st century, which would be fine if it were not the home of a unique photographic collection, cared for by a small but determined staff.
"A mediatation on the nature of photographic images, a celebration of old-world English eccentricity at threat in a world of high-tech glossiness and a reminder that nothing in our heritage is sacred" -- Sunday Times
" his TV masterpiece" -- The Independent
" mesmerizing " -- The Guardian
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Top Customer Reviews
However the library's many eccentric employees won't give up without a fight and from then on a war of wits and determination is played out among a wonderful array of black and white photographs that represent the past, the present and even the future.
The characters in this film are truly delightful, especially Timothy Spall who plays the oddball Oswald Bates, a man with a memory for faces so attuned that he can see resemblances between a person he has only seen once and those whose pictures are imprinted upon photographic paper.
However the battle to save the collection seems doomed, with every attempt the Library staff makes being thwarted but fate has something wonderful in store for Liam Cunningham and it is this wonderful twist in the story that ultimately will save the collection for future generations.
This is a fabulous film, originally a three part series for the BBC in the late 1990s I think it would have been a success if it had been released in Art House Cinemas all over the World.Read more ›
Timothy Spall (Auf Weidersehn Pet's Barry), as the archivist, gives what could be described as his best ever screen performance. This is classic British TV drama and an absolute must for every self-respecting DVD collection - and should be viewed by anyone who questions whether British television is still capable of producing drama of the highest quality.
Within a few seconds I was engrossed. Firstly by the sound-track and then by the amazing quality of story and acting. Timothy Spall is perfect in the role of Oswald. All the other actors are perfectly suited to thier charachters.
The story is hard to describe so i wont bother trying. Its something you have to watch and experience.
Aside from the likeable characters and the gorgeous soundtrack, this is British Drama at its best. I was moved to tears on several occassions and relished the one factor that is so frequently lacking in television dramas, I had no absolutely no idea how the tale would be resolved. I defy any first time viewer to guess!
It made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end! I cannot impart how enjoyable this programme is, and urge anyone with a love of photograghy, drama, comedy or music to give it a go. You will be pleased that you did.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Arrived within 36 hours of ordering, despite being Christmas week. Excellent service.
'Shooting the Past' is quite brilliant, quirky and with pathos. Read more
OK I have always fancied Ms Duncan who, like me, is a child of Edinburgh. That apart I found the whole thing absorbing and eccentrically 'British'. Read morePublished 2 months ago by RodB
Marvellous film. Follows the story of a library of photographic images under the threat of closure.Published 3 months ago by A. Neill
Absolutely beautiful, elegantly filmed, Lindsay Duncan is enthralling and Timothy Spall is amazing. Couldn't recommend this sophisticated, intelligent story more.Published 3 months ago by Dave B.
Another film bought on the strength of the cast, the hype and the reviews to be so disappointed and wasting my money. Read morePublished 3 months ago by originalisa
It is noteworthy that there is only one 1* review from someone who is simply stroking their own delusion that they have ability to think and write critically. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Danny der Rote