"Rurality" in the Films Of David Gladwell
Though more well known for work as a film editor associated with the Free Cinema Movement of the late 1950s and cutting work on several films by Lindsay Anderson including If.... (1968) and O' Lucky Man! (1973), David Gladwell is a director in his own right; a cinematic outsider who distills interests in agricultural life, the urban/rural divide and uncanny landscapes into heady, oneiric forms of short and feature length film. In this presentation, the concept of "rurality" - the sideways tipping of reality in fictional media by the hyperactive inclusion and obsession with rural aesthetics and themes - will be addressed chiefly within Gladwell's 1976 feature film, Requiem For A Village.
By assessing the themes of Requiem, a film that presents an essayist cine-poem examining the surreal shifts of English village life caused by the suburban developments of the mid 1970s, the film can be shown to parallel work by the likes of George Ewart Evans, Philip Larkin, Humphrey Jennings and Stanley Spencer. By aligning Gladwell's practice within the context of such artwork, as well as within terminological genre spectrums such as Folk Horror and the English Eerie, his films can be argued as being the epitome of work that, in the words of Robert Macfarlane, explores concepts surrounding landscape in “terms of its anomalies rather than its continuities.” (2015).
Adam Scovell is a writer and filmmaker currently based in Liverpool. He is studying for a PhD in Music at the University of Liverpool and is a doctoral candidate funded by the Arts And Humanities Research Council. He has produced film and art criticism for over twenty digital and print publications including The Times, BFI and The Guardian, runs the twice Blog North Awards nominated website, Celluloid Wicker Man, and has had films screened at FACT, The Everyman Playhouse, Hackney Picturehouse, and Manchester Art Gallery. In 2015, he worked with writer, Robert Macfarlane, on an adaptation of the Sunday Times best-seller, Holloway, and is currently filming a number of projects on Super-8 film including a collaboration with the writer, Iain Sinclair, as well as finalising his first book on Folk Horror to be published by Auteur.