When things like this are on your doorstep it would be really criminal not to take advantage! Yesterday evening I joined a friend and colleague for a walk around the Ventnor reservoir. In the early evening sunshine and with just a hint of Autumn colours Dartmoor looked beautiful. You start high up with only the odd Dartmoor pony for company before free flowing down to the river itself itself. Paddling is obligatory. So is standing stock still to contemplate the beauty of it all. No wonder Dr Blackall was prepared to build a road to his own house which stands high above the valley overseeing the whole scene.
You’d say it was far too beautiful for words (certainly too beautiful for video) but not so long ago I re read Alice Oswalds extra ordinary – and award winning – long poem DART. Fragments from the piece kept racing through my head as we stopped and watched. Its definately a river and a landscape with a story to tell.
As part of the Totnes Festival opening tomorrow (including a concert by Ana Silvera who Ive written about here) there is an opportunity to see DART performed by local community choirs on Vire Island with, appropriately, the Dart flowing by on either side. You can find more info here. Alice also features in the Arts at Dartington programme this Autumn. Clod Ensembles extra ordinary but claustrophobic Under Glass features her words. You get a real flavour of the piece from this Guardian review. Theres a strictly limited audience for this one (about 30 per show) so book now before it sells out!
Even closer to my digs is the Barn Cinema and when your little more than 200 yards away – well frankly, it would be rude not to take advantage. This evening I caught Catherine Breillat’s Bluebeard – a feminist retelling of the classic legend. At just 80 minutes long its a short but beautifully shot film. Breillat clearly enjoys tableau – creating still image after image which the camera fondly lingers over often for several seconds longer than is comfortable. The twin story lines (two 1950 children read the Bluebeard story that we then see occur in the 17th C) build to the end you hope for but with a totally unexpected twist. And the last image – where the forthright young girl is left stroking the head of Bluebeard (in an echo of a scene around the deathbed of her father) neatly sums the whole film up. It’s stylish (it could almost be a 17th century portrait) but at the same time strangely chilling.
The telegraph was impressed, the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw less so. For what its worth Peter I really liked the second story line (especially the relationship between the two girls), the leak between the time zones and the end it allows!