London-based filmmaker Tim Plester heads back to his home village – Adderbury in Oxfordshire – to learn about the Morris dancing traditions which run deep in his family. The result is a sweet, sympathetic and small-scale documentary tracing the history of modern Morris after it was all but wiped out in World War I and exploring how these ancient dances have been recorded and restored for a new generation of Morrismen. Plester makes for a frank and likeable guide, a country escapee grappling not just with his rustic ancestry but with the idea that Morris is a laughable, embarrassing aspect of British rural culture, rather than a vital link to our collective agrarian past. Add to that some gorgeous, bucolic photography of hedgerows and woodlands, informative interviews with the likes of Billy Bragg and occasional Fairport Convention fiddler Chris Leslie and a spot of well-designed animation, and the result is a slight but satisfying look at an unfairly maligned English pastime.
Friday September 9 2011
Tim Plester, Rob Curry