• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as current film releases with spiritual significance, and a few bits and pieces on the Bible.

    Friday, September 07, 2007

    First Reviews for Margate Exodus

    I definitely playing catch up to Peter Chattaway at the moment. He's made two posts this week about The Margate Exodus which premièred at the 64th Venice International Film Festival. Peter links to a couple of reviews, (one from The Guardian and the other from Variety) and he's also dug out an article on the film in The Times which discusses the film from the point of view of the extras.

    The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw is less than impressed:
    I was intrigued, but perplexed by another British film, Penny Woolcock's Exodus; it's a dystopian fantasy that parallels the Biblical story of the same name. Some time in the future, a firebrand fascist leader called Pharaoh (Bernard Hill) leads Margate as a secessionist city-state, and herds all the undesirables into a fenced-off zone on the site of the old Dreamland funfair. Part shanty-town, part concentration camp, it's a Sowetànamo of boiling resentment. Pharaoh's son Moses (Daniel Percival) winds up living there, and finds himself destined to lead the people into the promised land. The casting of up-and-comer Claire-Hope Ashitey underlines a resemblance to Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men, though, frankly, without any very convincing or exciting story.
    If I remember rightly, this picture was being filmed last summer, and therefore a good deal of time before the release of Children of Men (my review), so that criticism is a little harsh. That said it's possible that Margate Exodus was inspired by P.D. James's original novel whose Christian themes might more naturally inspire a re-telling of the exodus. Bradshaw definitely deserves some credit, however, for the invention of the word 'Sowetànamo'.

    Alissa Simon's review for Variety is a little more in depth (although it's written in that irritating shorthand that Variety insists on using for the sake of saving 10 letters per article), but this bit was particularly interesting:
    Pic stresses the human costs of fighting fire with fire, and the hypocrisy of saying "God told me to." Powerful ending strikes absolutely the right note.

    Shot on location in Margate, an English coastal town, the pic used locals in all aspects of the production. The fine ensemble cast combines professional thesps and first-timers.

    Kudos to DOP Jakob Ihre, whose moving camera and kinetic compositions make pic an exciting, intimate epic; to production designer Christina Moore for her dystopic vision; and costume designer Suzanne Cave, for her colorful, eclectic creations. Composer Malcolm Lindsay's lush score beautifully supports the action.
    Finally I also found some discussion on this film (and The Times write up from above) by a Margate based blogger claims that the film "marks a turning point for the town by showing that great events can happen here and that Margate can attract the talent, resources and the funding for creative industry".

    There's no news on when this is going to be released over here yet. It was originally going to be shown on Channel 4 during the summer, but summer has been and there's still no news. I spoke briefly to someone at producers Art Angel yesterday, and they confirmed that no broadcast or release date has been set as of yet.

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