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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:32 pm 
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One of the occasional frustrations of my job is that I'm well aware of what DVD and Blu-ray goodies the BFI has got lining up for the next few months (running well into 2010 in some cases), but I'm contractually barred from spilling the beans in public, no matter how mouthwatering those beans might be.

So I'm delighted to have been given the go-ahead to announce that I spent part of today ensconced in a telecine suite at Ascent Media in Soho, eavesdropping on the ongoing HD transfers of Jane Arden and Jack Bond's features Separation (1967), The Other Side of the Underneath (1972) and Anti-Clock (1979) - which will form the basis of three Blu-ray and DVD releases coming out later this year.

Withdrawn in the wake of Arden's death in 1982, the films have been totally unavailable for nearly three decades - never shown on television, and therefore all but impossible to come by even on the bootleg circuit: you pretty much had to be a personal friend of Bond in order to see them. The new transfers are from the original negatives out of necessity, as none of the surviving prints (and few were made in the first place) was in a usable condition. Fortunately, on the evidence of what I saw today, Anti-Clock at least is in excellent shape - a few tiny visual blemishes will be digitally removed, and shot-by-shot colour grading is being carried out under Bond's personal supervision.

As for extras, little has been formally agreed yet, but they will hopefully be copious: the BFI is fully aware of the need for maximum contextualisation of titles so obscure that virtually all British cinema histories ignore them completely . This will almost certainly include additional short films by Arden and Bond at the very least: I'll let you know more when they're confirmed. (I don't want to tempt fate by mentioning any titles just yet as surviving materials need to be checked for technical viability: for instance, one of the shorts only appears to survive on an ancient NTSC U-matic tape, and this hasn't been examined yet).

And I'm sorry about the lack of concrete information about the actual films: I haven't seen Separation at all, and I've only seen ten-minute chunks of the other two (and on hideous transfers off ropey prints), plus a reel of Anti-Clock shown in homage to Douglas Gordon's 24 Hour Psycho as each shot had to be paused for regrading. To make it even less helpful as a guide to what the film's actually like, it was also totally silent: the sound's being laid on tomorrow. Certainly, what I've seen looks wildly imaginative and quite unlike anything else being made in British cinema either at the time or since - but I'll have to reserve judgement until I've had a chance to watch them in full.

In the meantime, Arden has a surprisingly comprehensive Wikipedia entry and even a MySpace fan page - and if anyone out there is better informed about the films than I am (I know there's at least one, and I've PMed him), do please add a comment here. What with this and the Jeff Keen box, the BFI seems determined to delve deeper and deeper into hitherto unexplored British film terrain (I think I can also get away with revealing that the Land of Promise and GPO sets are merely the tip of a very large documentary iceberg), and although I'm obviously biased, I hope you'll agree they should be given every encouragement on principle.


Last edited by MichaelB on Mon Apr 27, 2009 8:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:35 am 
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Sean Kaye-Smith wrote three pieces about Jane Arden for Vertigo:

Unknown Pleasures (April 2007), an introduction to Jane Arden's career.

Arden and Dali in the Streets (December 2007), a piece about Jack Bond's short Dali in New York (1965) - I'll try to find out if there are plans to include it on one of the Blu-ray/DVDs (UPDATE: there were, but rights complications proved insuperable).

Mysterious Britain: Jane Arden, Jethro Tull and 1973 (August 2008) - a closer look at The Other Side of the Underneath.


Last edited by MichaelB on Mon Apr 27, 2009 8:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 8:20 am 
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The official press release will doubtless be along any day now, but I can confirm a few more details about extras, etc.

Separation will feature an audio commentary by Jack Bond and the London Sensual Laboratory's experimental short film Beyond Image (1969). More info on the latter here (the connection is that the Sensual Laboratory's Mark Boyle did the special effects for Separation).

The Other Side of the Underneath includes two separate editions of the film - the cinema release version, and a longer "workprint" cut. It also has interviews with performers Sheila Allen and Natasha Morgan.

Anti-Clock features the 40-minute Super 8 film Vibration (1974), long thought lost.

All three Blu-ray discs will be region-free, and will include the usual BFI booklet with reviews, biographies and other background info.


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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 4:45 am 
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I see the BBFC have rated Anti-Clock a 15 - but the trailer for it is 18!

I assume this is because the film has the contentious material in context - or is there footage in the trailer that is not in the film?


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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 12:44 pm 
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Could the rating for the trailer be an old one and BFI didn't want to pay for both a new film rating and a trailer rating?


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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 12:56 pm 
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domino harvey wrote:
Could the rating for the trailer be an old one and BFI didn't want to pay for both a new film rating and a trailer rating?

In a word, no - it's an American-made trailer that has never been screened in Britain before (because Anti-Clock itself has never had a commercial release in Britain before).

I don't have the trailer to hand to check, but Dr Amicus's reasoning sounds plausible.


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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 1:27 pm 
Separation is a great film and a rare portrait of London just post the 1960's. Procol Harum and Stanley Meyers wrote the attractive mod-rock score. Black and White, intellectual lunches, inner reflections on the meaning of ones existance - marital breakdown - it was all there...as were the lovely London Streets. I think of all Jane and Jack's films this one truly reflected their relationship as writer/director/producer team and whilst being arty also contained a narrative ...I would say that Fellini was an influence on both of them...


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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 6:16 pm 
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MichaelB wrote:
I don't have the trailer to hand to check, but Dr Amicus's reasoning sounds plausible.

Dr Amicus can take a bow, because he was absolutely bang on target.

Although the trailer doesn't contain any footage that isn't in the film, the film features a brief shock-cut of a man genuinely being shot in the head by firing squad - but in the trailer this shot is taken out of its original context and repeated in quick succession. Hence the tougher 18 certificate.

Because the trailer is on all three of these releases, they're all getting 18s, but, as the head of BFI DVD Publishing put it, "This would be a problem if we thought we were going to attract a huge teenage audience. As it is, I think we can live with it!"


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:18 pm 

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Now available for pre-order!.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 10:05 am 
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Official press release:

Quote:
Separation, The Other Side of the Underneath and Anti-Clock
Three ‘lost’ British films by Jane Arden and Jack Bond - newly restored by the BFI for DVD, Blu-ray and on the big screen at BFI Southbank in July


Jane Arden and Jack Bond produced three of Britain’s most challenging and provocative films – Separation (Jack Bond, 1968), The Other Side of the Underneath (Jane Arden, 1972) and Anti-Clock (Arden and Bond, 1979). Unseen since just after Arden's suicide in 1982, the films genuinely represent completely ‘lost’ works of recent British cinema history.

On 13 July each newly restored film, along with a range of extra features, will be released on BFI DVD and Blu-ray. On 14 July Separation will be screened at BFI Southbank, introduced by Jack Bond who will take part in a Q&A afterwards. The Other Side of the Underneath and Anti-Clock will be shown in the Studio at BFI Southbank on 5 & 18 July and 16 & 17 July respectively. An Arden/Bond season will take place at The Cube Microplex cinema, Bristol, when the three films will be screened in consecutive order from Mon 20 – Weds 22 July.

Born in Wales in 1927, Jane Arden was an actress, author and filmmaker whose screenwriting and directorial work of the late 60s and 70s explored themes of sexual politics, radical feminism, social alienation and ‘madness’. Made at a time when there were very few distinctive female voices in British cinema, the films she wrote and directed with director-producer Jack Bond (Dali in New York, It Couldn’t Happen Here) constitute a unique and unclassifiable body of work, ranging from Separation’s counter-cultural flamboyance of swinging 60s London to Anti-Clock’s boundary-pushing psycho-exploration.

Separation

Scripted by and starring Jane Arden, Separation concerns the inner life of a woman during a period of breakdown – marital, and possibly mental. Her past and (possible?) future are revealed through a fragmented but brilliantly achieved and often humorous narrative, in which dreams and desires are as real as the ‘swinging’ London of the film’s setting, complete with Procul Harum music and Mark Boyle projections.

Special features
• New full-feature audio commentary with Jack Bond
Beyond Image (Mark Boyle & Joan Hills, 1969, 14 minutes) – a rare liquid light film co-created by leading British artist Mark Boyle, whose visual effects are used throughout Separation. With music by The Soft Machine
• Trailer for Anti-Clock (Jane Arden/Jack Bond, 1979)
• Illustrated booklet with essays by William Fowler, Claire Monk, Amy Simmons, Maria Walsh; biographies and credits

The Other Side of the Underneath

Starring Sheila Allen – with Penny Slinger, Liz Danciger, Ann Lynn, and Natasha Morgan

Arden’s violent and powerful adaptation of her work with The Holocaust women’s theatre troupe looks into the mind of a woman labelled schizophrenic – and finds not madness, but tortured sexual guilt created by the taboos of society.

Special features
• ‘Workprint’ version of feature (Blu-ray only)
• Extended sequences
• Filmed interviews with Sheila Allen (2008) and Natasha Morgan (2007)
• Trailer for Anti-Clock (Jane Arden/Jack Bond, 1979)
• Illustrated booklet with essays by Susan Croft, Sophie Mayer, Amy Simmons, Penny Slinger; reviews, biographies and credits

Anti-Clock

A complex and fascinating experimental exploration of time and identity.

‘Anti-Clock is a film of authentic, startling originality. Brilliantly mixing cinema and video techniques, Arden and Bond have created a movie that captures the anxiety and sense of danger that has infiltrated the consciousness of so many people in western society. Filled with high tension and high intelligence, Anti-Clock is mysterious, disturbing, fascinating and exciting.’ – Jack Kroll, Newsweek

‘Anti-Clock … is great!’ – Andy Warhol

‘A futuristic masterpiece’ – Claude Chabrol

Special features
• Jack Bond’s 2005 re-edit of feature
Vibration (1974, 36 minutes): Arden and Bond’s experimental Super-8 visual ‘tone poem’
• Original trailer
• Illustrated booklet with contributions by Jack Bond, Chris Darke, and Penny Slinger; reviews, biographies and credits

Release date: 13 July 2009
RRP: DVD £19.99 each / Blu-ray £24.99 each

Separation: UK / 1968 / black and white, and colour / cert 15 / English language with hard-of-hearing subtitles / 89 minutes / Ratio 1.85:1 / Region 0
DVD cat no: BFIVD828 Blu-ray cat no: BFIB1022

The Other Side of the Underneath: UK / 1972 / colour / cert 18 / English language with hard-of-hearing subtitles / 106 minutes / Ratio 1.33:1 / Region 0
DVD Cat no: BFIVD829 / Blu-ray cat no: BFIB1011

Anti-Clock: UK / 1979 / colour / cert 18 / English language with hard-of-hearing subtitles / 92 minutes / Ratio 1.33:1 / Region 0 / 2-disc set
DVD cat no: BFIVD830 / Blu-ray cat no: BFIB1023


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 2:58 pm 
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Just a query re The Other Side of the Underneath...

The BBFC pass in 1972 gives the running time as 142:13, while the DVD pass has 106:32. Is the 1972 time an error, or is the 142-minute version the workprint cut?


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2009 3:34 am 
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GaryC wrote:
Just a query re The Other Side of the Underneath...

The BBFC pass in 1972 gives the running time as 142:13, while the DVD pass has 106:32. Is the 1972 time an error, or is the 142-minute version the workprint cut?

We've investigated this thoroughly (not least by consulting Jack Bond), and the answer is that we simply don't know.

There's no question that the cut camera negative runs 106 minutes because I witnessed the telecine myself, and as far as Bond is aware that's the version that went on release in 1973, as it's exactly the same source that the release prints were made from. He didn't cut the neg after that (no reason to), and no-one else would have had access to the materials or the authority to do anything with them.

So the most plausible hypothesis is that the BBFC running time is an error - the 12800 footage count looks suspiciously neat!

As for the workprint cut, while the Blu-ray is the only release that integrates the additional material back into the main feature (via seamless branching), the four extended sequences contain most of this footage, and they're included on the DVD as well.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 6:43 am 

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In view of the above exchanges, and that the original cut is 106 minutes, what is the source of the material added to the 'workprint', and the 'extended scenes' on the DVD? In short, where did that stuff come from? And presumably Jack Bond knew where to put it into the release print? It all sounds a bit puzzling.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 12:28 pm 
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Sean Kaye-Smith wrote:
In view of the above exchanges, and that the original cut is 106 minutes, what is the source of the material added to the 'workprint', and the 'extended scenes' on the DVD? In short, where did that stuff come from?

All footage for this reissue of The Other Side of the Underneath came from two sources: the original cut negatives (long believed destroyed in a fire, but found in deep storage at Technicolor labs earlier this year), and a positive print of the longer 'workprint' version, located in the US.

The final cut of the film was telecined and fully restored from the original negatives (the bulk of this material consisting of the film that actually passed through the camera, augmented by a short section of colour reversal interneg to fill in a section missing from the camera neg reels), and the additional material was sourced from the workprint cut. It was decided not to telecine the whole of the latter as the quality was so clearly inferior - instead, the extra footage is being presented as either:

1) Extended sequences, presented separately (on the DVD and Blu-ray versions);
2) Integrated into the final cut footage via seamless branching to create a replica of the workprint cut, but using the highest quality source materials (Blu-ray only).

Quote:
And presumably Jack Bond knew where to put it into the release print?

Yes, though even in his absence the workprint copy would have supplied all the information required. But he was present throughout the entire transfer process, and has approved this new version as being definitive.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 7:44 pm 

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Here are some odd reviews from tvguide.com.

Separation- 1 1/2 Stars
Quote:
A fuzzy, muddled plot with no direction makes this British film a basic blob. Arden, the subject of this mess, is going through the stages of a nervous breakdown after her marriage ends. A collage of scenes shows her in a series of real or imaginary confrontations with her husband, her new young lover and her psychiatrist. The story line is obscure and self-indulgent, with some nudity.

The Other Side of the Underneath- One Star
Quote:
A tiresome and confused independent production that focuses on the schizophrenia of a group of girls in a therapy session. Bordering on surrealism, it never quite reveals the causes of their disease.

Anti-Clock- Zero Stars
Quote:
The sort of film that gives art houses and film schools a bad name, ANTI-CLOCK is an awful, pretentious, overlong comedy about one man's journey to higher knowledge. Sebastian Saville undertakes a dual role as both Joseph Sapha, who rebels against enforced conformist thought, and Prof. Zanov, the man responsible for keeping Joseph from getting any big ideas, which, of course, he gets anyway. Joseph comes to feel acutely connected to the rest of universe, but mostly he issues ridiculously bombastic pronouncements about a world on the edge of apocalypse. Made over a period of three years by British experimental filmmakers Jack Bond and Jane Arden, who incorporate a number of video techniques into their production, ANTI-CLOCK is wholly forgettable.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2009 4:52 am 
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Not odd at all when you take a look at tvguide.com. If I want to see this kind of reviewing I
turn to the ever trusty Halliwell. :wink:


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2009 4:57 am 
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"Obscure and self-indulgent, with some nudity" is a great poster quote.

closelyobserved wrote:
Not odd at all when you take a look at tvguide.com. If I want to see this kind of reviewing I
turn to the ever trusty Halliwell. :wink:

Indeed - I still treasure Halliwell's dismissal of Eraserhead with a sniffy "At least Buñuel and Dalí didn't take so long about their nonsense."


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:20 am 
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The Anti-Clock frozen for 30 years - The Guardian...


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 10:57 pm 

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The Guardian review


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 7:31 am 
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I now have final production copies, and while I can't play the Blu-ray discs at work, I can at least break down the very impressive booklets - more than usually essential with films that have been so little documented. As a concurrent Sight & Sound piece pointed out, "the films are unacknowledged in 99 per cent of the historiography of British film and 100 per cent of the literature on women's cinema".

Separation

1-5: 'Always Too Early' - introductory essay by Claire Monk;
6-9: 'Through a Glass Darkly: A Woman on the Edge' by Maria Walsh;
10: 'Separation: Notes on the commentary recording' by Sam Dunn;
12-14: Biography of Jane Arden by Michael Brooke;
16-17: Biography of Jack Bond by Michael Brooke;
(NB: Both of these can be read on BFI Screenonline, though the filmographies there only cover cinema and TV work, not other media)
21: Full credits for the film;
22-23: 'Uproar as New Film is Banned' - a 1967 Sunday Telegraph article about the film's last-minute withdrawal from the Cork Film Festival;
24-25: 'Ardent in Separation' - a 1967 interview with Jane Arden;
28-30: 'Beyond Image: Beyond the Image' by William Fowler;
32: Detailed notes on the transfer;
33: Acknowledgments.

The Other Side of the Underneath

1-3: Introductory essay by Amy Simmons;
4-11: Reminiscence by Penny Slinger;
12-14: Essay by Sophie Mayer;
16-17: Introduction to and extract from Vagina Rex and the Gas Oven by Jane Arden;
19: Introduction to Holocaust Theatre by Jane Arden;
20-22: 'Chasing Jane' by Susan Croft (an essay about the difficulty of researching Arden's work);
23-29: Biographies of Jane Arden and Jack Bond (see Separation booklet)
30-31: Biographies of contributors Sheila Allen, Natasha Morgan and Susan Croft;
32-33: Transcript of David Will's BBC Radio 1 broadcast about the film (1972);
35: Full credits for the film;
36: Detailed notes on the transfer;
37: Acknowledgments;

Anti-Clock

1-3: 'Mind Games' by Chris Darke;
4-7: Reminiscence by Jack Bond;
8-9: 'Future Shock', Jack Kroll's original 1980 Newsweek review;
10-11: 'Anti-Clock: a video movie' by Bruce Apar (1980 Video magazine article);
13: Full credits for Anti-Clock;
14-16: Extract from 'Vagina Rex and the Gas Oven' by Jane Arden;
17: Notes on the 2005 re-edit of Anti-Clock by Jack Bond;
18-22: Notes on Vibration by Penny Slinger;
23: Full credits for Vibration;
24-25: Poem from Vibration by Jane Arden;
26-27: Notes on Vibration by Jane Arden;
28-34: Biographies of Jane Arden and Jack Bond (see Separation booklet)
35-36: Detailed notes on the transfer;
37: Acknowledgments;

All three booklets are generously illustrated with rare full-page black-and-white and colour illustrations.

I've also found out why Anti-Clock is a two-disc set - the second disc in both packages is a DVD containing the 2005 re-edit, which was only available in SD video format.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:20 am 
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Beaver (on Separation)


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 5:46 am 
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DVD Times (on The Other Side of the Underneath)


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 9:46 am 

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Can anyone tell me what the correct screen ratios are for the dvds Separation has 1.33 on the box but is 1.85(16.9) The Other Side Of Underneath has 1.85 on the box is this correct? some reviews have it at 1.33 and Anti- clock is 1.33 on the dvd box .


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 5:15 pm 
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frankiecrisp wrote:
Can anyone tell me what the correct screen ratios are for the dvds Separation has 1.33 on the box but is 1.85(16.9) The Other Side Of Underneath has 1.85 on the box is this correct? some reviews have it at 1.33 and Anti- clock is 1.33 on the dvd box .


Separation was shot on 35mm and designed to be projected at 1.85:1. The Other Side of the Underneath and Anti-Clock were shot on full-frame 16mm, and designed for projection at 1.33:1. In the case of Anti-Clock, I imagine this was to ensure compatibility with the substantial amount of video material.

But this is somewhat academic as you can absolutely rest assured that the aspect ratios of the DVDs and Blu-rays are as intended - Jack Bond sat in on every telecine session, and he was director, producer or co-cinematographer on all three films, and the only surviving authority on what they should look like (Jane Arden and cinematographer Aubrey Dewar being long dead).


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 7:43 pm 
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Beaver on Anti-Clock


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