~ Filmmaker: Dave Lee ~

Here by Philip Larkin

Last week’s Larkin centenary surfaced this fine poetry film from 2010, directed by Dave Lee with voiceover by Sir Tom Courtney. David Stubbins was the cinematographer, Andrew Olsson the editor and Louise Bennett the composer. The YouTube description:

‘Here’ is a contemporary cinematic interpretation of Philip Larkin’s poem of the same name, which depicts a journey east “from rich industrial shadows” through an initially bleak but increasingly fecund rural landscape and on to a large and bustling town, whose inhabitants (and their lives) are brought into sharp focus in uncompromising but affectionately honest terms before the journey continues eastwards beyond the town, to where “Ends the land suddenly” in an ethereal and unattainable “unfenced existence”.

The film has been nominated for awards at:
RTS Awards 2010
Holmfirth Film Festival 2010
Hull Short Film Festival 2010
Cambridge Strawberry Shorts 2011

Bridge For The Living by Philip Larkin

The high quality of this poem-film as a film convinced me it deserves a place here, despite the (to my taste) rather too literal correspondence of film image to textual image. Actually, as a commemorative work for the bridge itself, it’s hard to see how the film could’ve avoided such literalism — and it’s not as if the choice of shots and camera angles doesn’t exercise the viewer’s imagination, too. At any rate, here’s the description at Vimeo (edited slightly to remove typos):

Written to commemorate the opening of the Humber Bridge, ‘Bridge For The Living’ finds Philip Larkin ruminating both on the effect he believed the bridge would have on the city of Hull and its environs but also on the nature of man’s need for connectivity.

This film returns to the poem during the 30th anniversary year of the Humber Bridge and illustrates and explores Larkin’s sentiments. The read is supplied by Hull-born Oscar-nominated acting legend Sir Tom Courtenay and is the second time he has completed a film based on a Larkin poem with Yorkshire film-maker Dave Lee, their previous collaboration being a multi-award nominated adaptation of ‘Here’.

‘Bridge For The Living’ has been made for the 2011 Humber Mouth Literary Festival with support from Hull City Council and the National Lottery.

It won an award at Glimmer 2011: The Hull International Short Film Festival. The Jury said: “Dave Lee has created a mesmerizing film with a timeless feel. Bridge for the Living is stunning; a wonderful use of time-lapse, fantastic camera angles and flawless editing, this work perfectly compliments the Philip Larkin poem with its beautiful cinematography, all complimented by Sir Tom Courtney’s voice over.”

The Humber Mouth website is here.