How We Used To Live
Time Out says
Over the past decade, director Paul Kelly and composer-screenwriter-St Etienne-member Bob Stanley have developed their own cottage industry, producing documentaries that celebrate the history and culture of our capital in friendly, idiosyncratic fashion. Following on from psychogeographical essay ‘Finisterre’ and day-in-the-life doc ‘What Have You Done Today, Mervyn Day?’, this latest collaboration compiles footage drawn from the BFI’s archive to present a kaleidoscopic look at London from 1950 to 1980. Narrated by a suitably lugubrious Ian McShane, ‘How We Used to Live’ finds poetry in the whirl of people in motion, in rapidly changing fashions, in urban sprawl and development, in the fading of the old ways and the rise of the new. It’s hardly a radical idea (Terence Davies’s more intimate ‘Of Time and the City’ pulled off the same trick for Liverpool in 2008), but the footage is well chosen – often funny, occasionally sad, always enlightening – while the music and voiceover provide a cosy, comfortable backdrop. One for London buffs.