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London in a time capsule
on 1 December 2008
One of the most insightful, thought provoking, astute and artistic British movies ever made. And for lovers of London on film, this movie is a must to own, as it portrays Battersea with a real passion, and has some very artistic camera work. It is a very spirited piece of work and you sense that everyone in it believes in it, and isn't just in it for the fame or the money. It is very much a film of its era, and it may be hard for young 20somethings now to relate to, because who talks about the class system and how it affects people's lives now? This was a very 1960s subject, with a lot of radically minded young graduates having had their lives changed by discovering the works of Marx and Gramsci at Univerity and their idealism was one of the main catalysts for the whole swinging 60s scene.
Julie Christie lookalike Suzy Kendall plays the posh young idealist who follows her dream of leaving her stuffy and over privileged life in Chelsea to slum it among the 'more real', 'more alive' people of downmarket Battersea. Her resulting journey looks both nostalgic and other worldly to us now, and perhaps it was laid on a bit thick with the class divide thing and the experiencing real life stuff, but this WAS a different era to today. So it romanticises the lives of down at heel but good hearted Londoners somewhat, and maybe even overstates the effects of the class divide a little but it does make for a moving film experience. Has some fantastically arty scenes, such as the courting scene in the half demolished house where they look out through the rubble at London with an orange sunset. It is both very astute and faintly naive, and really bigs up the idealism of Suzy Kendall's character, who is overall a very believable 1960s character. The town of Chelsea is refered to as though it's almost a mythical Camelot that's hidden Kendall away from the real life she longs for, and it builds on this fairytale image by pointing the camera across the Thames towards Chelsea, but rightly doesn't go there.
With an evocative 60s score, career making performances from several now very familiar actors including a breathtakingly good Maureen Lipman, some great dialogue, some classic shots of London and some social issues given the social realism treatment-1960s style, Up the Junction is one of the most memorable and unique British films out there on DVD.