Arcadia

“She realised the answer lay within her all along…”

Finally getting round to writing something about ‘Arcadia’, the BBC film on TV the other night. What a refreshing, original piece of work – a painstaking collage of old found footage, tapping into ideas of what makes England England, and where we might go from here. Wonderfully arranged into short chapters, with no talking heads or narration, but a great specially-written soundtrack and a liberal sprinkling of folksongs and ballads, it started with a question – how to deal with a growing sense of identity loss and unease – and delivered an answer: listen to the land, get back to the heart of things, the answer is already there inside you… I’m encountering this generally optimistic conclusion a lot as I do my own England travel-odyssey these days. (It was there in the storytelling the other night – the story of the young woman who went in search of some kind of magic potion to save her husband, but found that in the end the truth and courage in her heart was everything that she needed…) Lots of humour in this film too – and in the traditions! Wonderful to celebrate the weird and wonderful happenings and rituals that still go on, under-the-radar, all over this country; not to mention power-spots and incredible landscapes. I’m enjoying discovering some of them on this West Country journey that I’m on…

 

 

Incidentally, George Butterworth cropped up again amongst the footage in ‘Arcadia’ – those flickering images of him morris-dancing, a glimpse of a different age (not that morris dancing isn’t very much alive!). I think ‘Arcadia’ is still on the iPlayer for a couple more weeks – it’s worth watching again…

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