Search This Blog

Loading...

Saturday, April 09, 2011

A great documentary and a funny poem

Last night we watched "Home From The Hill", the short TV documentary that first made the name of its director Molly Dineen in 1987. It's the lead item in The Molly Dineen Collection Vol 1: Home From the Hill (2-DVD set), a collection of her work which somebody kindly sent me. "Home From The Hill" is about the return to Britain in the 1980s of retired colonial army officer Hilary Hook from his splendid home in rural Kenya to a rented flat in the suburbs. In the parlance of film Dineen occasionally breaks the fourth wall, a key feature of her later films about subjects such as London Zoo, Geri Halliwell and the decline of the farming industry. When Hook refuses to even try to use a can opener in his cramped English kitchen she can be heard saying "you're going to have to learn". It was quite easy to talk to him in this way because Hook was the father of her then-boyfriend and clearly adored her. At the end of the film he walks the English countryside complaining of the cold. "Let's go to a pub," he says before leaning towards her and launching into a poem:
It is not true to say I frowned,
Or ran about the room and roared;
I might have simply sat and snored -
I rose politely in the club
And said, 'I feel a little bored;
Will someone take me to a pub?'
She asks him whether he's happy. "Blissfully happy in your presence," he says, twinkling. "Otherwise I represent divine discontent."

This morning I looked up the poem. It's "A Ballade Of An Anti-Puritan" by G.K. Chesterton. Amazing.