Thursday, 17 April 2014

Willow and Wind - The Cinema of Childhood - Filmhouse, Edinburgh


As I drive to work I view the city I live in from behind a pane of glass.

The buildings.

The people.

The hills.

The grass.

The wind.

The rain.

The warmth of the sun.

At home I am aware of the world around me.

I "experience" it via a pane of glass.

The screen of my television.

I see the joy and the heartache of the lives of others.

I see war, love, violence, misery, friendships, resolutions.

When I want to get in touch with friends and family it is often done remotely...through yet another pane of glass; the screen of my 'phone, the screen of my computer.

I email.

I text.

At home, on the way to work and in my "relations" with those I love I am, very often, behind a pane of glass.

That glass denying me the opportunity to feel the rain falling on my face.

That glass separating me from experiences...real, visceral experiences.

That glass creating a barrier between me and those I connections with them being reduced to virtual encounters.

When I was eight years old my friend Darren Millar challenged me to a race.

The rules were very clear.

We would run around the block in opposite directions and the first one back to my front door would be the winner.

As I rounded the first corner I lost my footing and fell into a pile of broken glass.

I still have the scar on my forearm.

There was a lot of blood.

There was a lot of pain.

There was a lot of concern from my mum.

There were hugs and kisses too.

In that case a broken pane of glass brought me into physical contact with people and pain.

In "Willow and Wind" director Mohammad Ali-Talebi takes a pane of glass and uses it to present us with something greater...almost metaphysical.  The glass is a means of confronting us with the challenges that each of us faces in our lives.  In the film the challenges are faced by a schoolboy who, after breaking the window in his classroom while playing football, is told that he must replace the pane or be expelled.

What follows is, in all probability, one of the greatest films you have never seen.

Friendships are formed.

The awful inadequacies of most adults are exposed.

The indefatigability of children is highlighted.

Triumphs and tragedies lift you high and plunge you low.

The pane of glass here is a means for us to feel all of those things we are normally disconnected from by windows and screens.  From a simple premise Ali Talebi creates a film that is funny, warm, inspiring and Hitchcockian...I promise you, the suspense is the equal of anything that the great man ever managed.

So, if you feel the need to connect with people, with your emotions and with the child inside you then you could do much worse than to sit behind the screen of your computer and watch a masterpiece thanks to the miracle of Filmhouse Player.

Find the time to tweet Mark Cousins once you've watched it...just to say "Thanks".

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