On Landguard Point (tbc)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner24/08/2013

Two out of Five Stars
Running Time: 83 mins

On Landguard Point is an experimental collective art project that takes the form of a documentary about East Anglia, featuring art installations and live performances from the local community and established artists in praise of their local area, traditions and lives.

What’s it about?
Experimental theatre director Robert Pacitti gathers together live performances and art installations to celebrate East Anglia in this documentary film, all accompanied by original music from Michael Nyman. The focus of the film is Landguard Point, a small peninsula of land in the Suffolk parish of Felixstowe, which is of national importance as it is the site of the last opposed invasion of England in 1667 and is currently the UK’s principle trade gateway.

The Good
There are a few striking images amidst this strange love letter to East Anglia including some stunning shots of the coastal architecture and the ever shifting landscape by the sea. The sadness of the seaside town when it’s wet and windy is perhaps the most engaging and touching performance alongside the image of an imprisoned, tattooed man bleeding from his face. The sense of community spirit is one of the things that comes across well in On Landguard Point, particularly as the local brass band play on the pier with a bunch of young cheerleaders celebrating or a group re-enact the ‘Six County Cake Parade’. Another outstanding moment includes a collection of guitarists playing an incendiary tune in the middle of field, which is quite something to behold.

The Bad
Even with its short running time On Landguard Point outstays its welcome; the overly loud music, and the patronising voiceover that poses questions about ‘home and what it means’, makes sure tedium sets in quite quickly. This non-narrative film is aiming for the visual equivalent of free verse poetry but ends up feeling disjointed and amateur. The strange re-enactments don’t sit right with the art installations and though much of what you see is absurd, it’s almost not absurd enough to enjoy on that level.

The voiceover keeps reminding the viewer what you should be thinking about or reading aloud poetry, and everything clashes together in a slow, unsatisfying mess that plays out like a made-for-schools documentary that just keeps going on and on and on.

Symbols created from local knowledge cross the screen at random and they can’t be made sense of until you read the supporting material. There is too much time spent on odd and indecipherable performances and re-enactments in On Landguard Point to really enjoy the place that’s being celebrated. A simpler approach could have been much more effective and charming.

Worth seeing?
If you’re a fan of obscure art installations then On Landguard Point could be just your cup of tea, if not, best to steer clear.

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Content updated: 15/12/2018 12:01

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