If your sweetheart is a Valentine’s Day hater, forever banging on about how it was invented by greeting cards manufacturers (false: the earliest known Valentine poem is fifteenth-century), try this dreamy doc on them. It might be enough to melt that sliver of ice in their heart.
Just 70 minutes long, director Kim Longinotto has done a mighty research job piecing together love scenes from the past 100 years – snippets of films, home movies and newsreels. From a kiss filmed on a train in 1899 to a gay wedding in Islington last year, we watch a history of love in the twentieth century and beyond. And it’s a story to make your heart leap – as society takes the boot off love, freeing us all to fall for whoever we want, boy or girl, black or white, posh or poor. Voiceover-free, ex-Pulp guitarist Richard Hawley provides a nostalgic indie soundtrack.
There’s some cleverly chosen movie footage too. Best of all is from 1929’s ‘Piccadilly’ featuring the white-hot 1920s Chinese-American superstar Anna May Wong as a nightclub scullery maid with ripped stockings who works her way to the club’s number-one dancer, only to fall foul of the owner’s jealous wife.
Plus ça change. Watching ‘Love Is All’ what strikes you most is that a daffy loved-up face looked the same in 1915 as it does in 2015. Recent-ish footage of a white guy marrying a Sikh woman – his family dressed up, a little uncomfortably but really making the effort in traditional Sikh outfits – made me blub like a baby. This is made with real heart – not a strawberry chocolate one.