Saturday, 7 November 2015

The Englishman who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain

1995 - Dir Christopher Monger - 1hr 42min. Shown in FeckenOdeon 2 on 16th October, 2015

The British love characters in their films - eccentrics, oddities and quaint folk. They’re not so good at tolerating them in real life but, as long as they’re up there on the screen, they’re OK. This film abounds with them - and, even better, most of them are Welsh - which makes them even funnier!
Her Majesty's Ordnance Survey Office has for more than a century been mapping the British Isles down to the smallest lane, hill and footpath. Country walkers can buy a map so detailed it includes clumps of trees. These maps are of incalculable importance to the people whose lands they detail, since they touch on old wounds: feuds, battles, disputed place-names, historical perceptions. The film begins as two surveyors for the O. S. arrive in a small village in Wales. Their purpose: To measure the local "mountain," Mountains must be at least 1,000 feet high. Anything smaller is a large hill.
The lengths to which the villagers will go to prove that their hill is a mountain makes for classic British film comedy - gently daft community action by “ordinary” people - think “Passport to Pimlico”, “Whisky Galore” and “Waking Ned” . Those who remember Feckenham’s brief, but glorious, spasm of civil disobedience when The Square (the village green) was threatened will know that this spirit lives on in real life - we still haven’t discovered who it was that “accidentally dropped” a mixer full of quick setting  concrete on the Vicarage drive….

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