Tuesday, 1 April 2014

It will all be over in a flash...

When the Wind Blows - partnership event with Hyde Park Picture House
Monday 31 March

Sally Bavage writes:
                                                                Photo:  Sally Bavage
When the Wind Blows author Raymond Briggs’ eightieth birthday and the one hundredth birthday of the Hyde Park Picture House, as well as the centenary of the outbreak of WW1, are three good reasons to revive one of the classics of a war from another era – planning to survive the Cold War or what would have been WW3.  

Jim and Hilda Bloggs believe in the government, believe the pamphlets about building a home-made shelter and believe that they can survive if they follow the government’s ludicrous lists of instructions in Protect and Survive and The Householder’s Guide to Survival. Rather like those who came from the Boer War to WW1, they have no idea of the difference in the destructive power of the new weapons that will be used, nor of the insidious effects of nuclear radiation.

“It’ll all be over in a flash” says Jim in a moment of unintended prescience.  “It’s all gone dead,” doesn’t just refer to the electricity, the radio and the television; the landscape is stark and burned, the lettuces evaporated, the animal life limited to rats coming out of the sewers - and the steam coming from the kettle assumes the shape of a mushroom cloud.  This viewer was starkly reminded of much more recent imagery coming from Chechnya, Iraq and Syria. 

Raymond Briggs, illustrator, cartoonist, graphic novelist and author achieved great success amongst adults and children.  He is also known for his story The Snowman, a book without words, as well as Fungus the Bogeyman and Father Christmas.  In an era of the resurgence of the genre of the graphic novel, a graphic film that we watch as hope and belief in their survival finally fade.  Hankies all round as David Bowie sings us out.

Thanks are due to Wendy from the Hyde Park Picture House, who selected such an appropriate film for LitFest, and to Allan who showed us the two giant 35 mm film projectors upstairs in the projection box. Next to the modern digital version the huge reels of film emphasised how far technology has moved on, in war as in its imagery

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