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Glasgow Film Theatre, November 6th
Five stars


The London East End laid bare in Italian film-maker Lorenza Mazetti’s fascinating 52 minute piece of post World War Two poetic realism looks a far cry from the gentrified hipster’s paradise it would become half a century later. Dating from 1956, the novelty of seeing the film now as part of a UK tour promoted by the Bo'ness-based Hippodrome Film Festival, who commissioned a new live score by contemporary improvisers Raymond MacDonald and Christian Ferlaino, is the presence of the then unknown Leith-born artist Eduardo Paolozzi.

In his only acting role, the then thirty-two year old Paolozzi appears alongside painter Michael Andrews as a pair of deaf dockers navigating their way through the blitz-battered streets. Here, gangs of children mock the men's silence with delighted cruelty, while the pair remain oblivious to the everyday noises of the pub, market and fun fair. As a double act, where Andrews lean-ness reflects his outgoing desire to fit in, Paolozzi has a more insular, hang-dog demeanour.

Beyond Paolozzi’s appearance, Mazetti’s film works on so many levels, both as a vital contribution to the Free Cinema movement, with a young Lindsay Anderson working as the film’s supervising editor; and as a social document of post-War Britain. MacDonald and Ferlaino’s twin sax, piano and percussion-based soundtrack speaks volumes too, as it both illustrates and pulses the life going on beyond the pair’s reach.

This may have been the film’s only Scottish screening for now, but it’s expansive black and white portrait of everyday outsiderdom needs to be seen - and heard - more widely. Given Paolozzi's presence and the film's status as a work of art on several counts, perhaps Edinburgh Art Festival might wish to feature it in a site-specific context, on a loop in the sort of tenement-set installation which this year they used so well.

The List, November 2017

ends

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