Shooting the Past

It’s been awhile since I posted about anything other than food, so let me switch gears for a little bit.  Awhile back, a colleague recommended a TV movie to me called Shooting the Past by Stephen Poliakoff. I put it on my Netflix queue where it remained for sometime. A week or so ago, it finally made its way to my home.

Marilyn, (Lindsay Duncan) is in charge of a photo archive (10 million photos) that is owned by a company. The company has let them to their own devices for years but has recently been sold to American businessman Liam Cunningham (now playing Davos Seaworth on the excellent Game of Thrones). Unbeknownst to her, he’s been writing her colleague who handles the business end of stuff, Oswald (Timothy Spall) that the best photos of the collection are to be sold and the rest of it destroyed. Oswald has not shared this info with any of the archive’s employees so they’re totally unprepared for the news.

Now it’s up to her to try and convince him that the collection needs to be kept intact. This is part 1 of a really great scene :

This is quite a remarkable story and a remarkable movie. While some of the archive employees are exaggerated, I have met people somewhat like them in the library world before. Cunningham’s character is not a monster. He’s a decent enough man who has done the appropriate thing and is now flung into a situation not of his own making.

I am also very familiar with the central crux of the dilemma faced by the archive. Marilyn is told by others that the contents of the archive are mostly duplicated elsewhere. The argument she needs to make is a difficult one. Why does this collection need to remain intact? Through a series of “stories” that Marilyn has the chance to tell, she manages to make her case.

Timothy Spall is slightly over-the-top, but everyone else gives wonderful performances. The music, the direction, the writing, the amazing images, all make this really worth the time to hunt it down. (Hint, hint, it appears to be on YouTube)

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