Shooting the Past 1999
The lives of 5 rather eccentric and sheltered photographic archivists are forever shattered when the building they are housed in is acquired by an American conglomerate, to be made into a technological business school. Faced with the horror of their collection of 10 million + photographs being destroyed, head curator Marilyn Truman (played exquisitely by Lindsay Duncan) sets out to find a way to save it in its entirety. Her efforts appear to be hampered by the outrageous Oswald (a magnificent performance by Timothy Spall) and only just tolerated by the corporate American boss, Christopher Anderson (a riveting display of acting by Liam Cunningham).

The work appears doomed, as do the lives of those who had cared for it, but redemption comes from the unlikely source and highly unorthodox behaviour of Oswald. The price is enormously high for all concerned, for none more so than Oswald himself, and the events that transpire have life altering effects on all the participants.

Director: Stephen Poliakoff
Cast: Lindsay Duncan, Timothy Spall, Liam Cunningham
Country: UK
Genre: Drama, History

2xDVD9 | NTSC 4:3 | 183 min | 13.5 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English
Subtitles: English


-- Commentary - Stephen Poliakoff (Director), Adrian Johnston (Musical Director) & J P Kelly (Production Designer)
This commentary features the director, musical director and production designer in a very revealing and informative discussion about both the technical and human aspects of the film. Poliakoff explains his intended themes, and how they are visually translated, and the others provide excellent input about their own areas of expertise.

-- Featurette
This runs 19:47 and is a wonderful adjunct to the film. Far more than the usual fare, this is really a mini-documentary, with Poliakoff showing us through the archives of the BBC and regaling us with stories about his background intent in making Shooting The Past. Tim Spall and Lindsay Duncan discuss their involvement with enthusiasm and intelligence and various other actors discuss the impact this production had on them. An excellent and revealing feature.

-- Veronica's Story (4:41)
An exquisite monologue with an optional commentary featuring the superb actor Billie Whitelaw discussing the intriguing pictures of Churchill's war time conspiracy to build a ship of ice. Her delivery is assured, engaging and utterly convincing, and, believe it or not, the story is actually true. It's a wonderful chance to see this fine actor coming into her own.

-- Spig's Story (7:01)
Another magnificent monologue to camera, this time presented by the inimitable Emilia Fox. Unlike the more far-fetched Churchill story that Veronica unravels, Spig's story is in fact a fiction, but it is told with such convincing aplomb and confidence that one is completely prepared to believe her every word. There is an optional commentary available here also, which adds yet another layer to this ingenious time-filler that Poliakoff created to balance out his programming. In the commentary, he discusses how much impact these shorts made on the viewers, as they "speared the ideas" of the series directly to the audience. They are both masterful pieces of filmmaking that do indeed provide a long lasting impact.

-- Photographic Montage
The original photographs that the production crew created are set to music in this presentation. It is meditative and pleasant to watch.