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Winstanley; Warts and All Paperback – May 8, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: UKA Press (May 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905796226
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905796229
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,294,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Elisabeth on March 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is a marvellous read, immersing me in the filming of the 1976 low-budget cult classic, Winstanley. Co-director, Kevin Brownlow took notes during filming which he wrote-up after the film was finished. Published for the first time in 2009, his account is a wealth of fresh honest detail.

The book takes us on a journey of the challenges facing an independent filmmaker. It starts with the painfully-won success of securing UK-funding, includes financial and technical obstacles, and ends - despite critical acclaim - with the frustration of not getting proper distribution.

Professional conflicts and resolutions are truthfully described, with humour and empathy. I identified with the satisfaction of being an (unpaid) local extra dressed in 17th century costume, and the ouch of the screenwriter's polished script being used as raw material by co-directors, Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo. Both had previously made It Happened Here (another cult-classic), and the book reproduces their creative tussles making Winstanley - which, sadly, for British cinema, turned out to be their final film.

I first came across Gerrard Winstanley a few years ago in the land-campaign magazine, The Land. His writing is as relevant as ever: the earth is "a Common Treasury for all". A key figure in the Digger movement, which resisted the enforced enclosures of common land, Winstanley was a Christian communist, political activist, eco-hero.

I saw the film at Bristol's independent cinema, the Cube, in 2009 (and wrote about it on my blog, Real Food Lover). I believe our current industrial food model is linked to the enclosures, conducted over several centuries, depriving the poor of their traditional land-rights to grow food and rear cattle.
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This is probably Kevin Brownlow's most obscure book...because it is about an obscure film he made about an England of hundreds of years ago. The thing is, the movie is quite fascinating and because of that, this book about the troubled production and distribution of the film is fascinating as well. Brownlow has a way of writing that absorbs you into the tale he tells, to the point where you have finished a good chunk of the book and you really need to do something else, but his prose wants you to keep going. Even a lesser book by this author would be better than the best of many others.
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