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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

In Film, an Afterthought: A field in England

In Film, an Afterthought: A field in England
by David Stanley Aponte, 22.November.2017

The first saw "A field in England" shortly after it's release after I returned to The United States from living in Europe in summer 2013. The film is directed by Ben Wheatley and written by Amy Jump who have both worked on the films "Kill List", "Sightseers" and "High Rise".

What I found interesting about this film as it is set during the 17th century during the English civil war as well touches the subject of Alchemy from that period of time. There is a cameo in the beginning of the film by Julian Barratt as "Trower". People will remember Barratt from the show "Nathan Barley" (written by Chris Morris and Charlie Brooker) as well as starring in the infamous show, The Mighty Boosh (along side Noel Fielding). The film also stars "Michael Smiley" as "O'Neil", who has appeared in the "Black Mirror" episode "White Bear", the dark comedy "Burke and Hare" and he also plays memorable character, the raver cyclist "Tyres O'Flaherty" in the British TV series "Spaced" (which stars a much younger Simon Pegg).

I enjoyed the film since I often like historical period films, especially set in the 17th and 18th century. All though is labeled as psychological horror has some comic moments of banter in the film that had me laughing. Overall the film "A Field in England" is not a comedy it does evoke "comedy occultum" that one might see in Derek Jarman's films. As someone who looked at and studied 17th century alchemic engravings as a printmaking since high school I could relate to the feel of the setting and occult language used in the film.

The film has a bit of Shakespearian quality but also has a bit of a feel like what it might be like if "Samuel Beckett" did a drama set during the English civil war. The film also slightly evokes in my memory watching Peter Greenaway films in my early 20's when my mind was in an altered state. Perhaps one of the mystifying moments of the film is the tent scene where dreamy ambient song "Chernobyl" is heard by Edinburgh solo project "Blanck Mass".

Julian Barratt as "Trower"

"Michael Smiley" as "O'Neil"