S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
Directed by Marc Isaacs
UK 2007, 2009
Following our release last year of Three Films by Marc Isaacs - comprising Lift / Travellers / Calais: The Last Border - we are delighted to continue with a further two films from one of the UK`s most acclaimed documentary filmmakers. All White in Barking: Isaacs' compassionate and illuminating documentary probes the attitudes of Barking's white residents toward their new immigrant neighbours, characterized by unexamined (and often comic) prejudices about their dress, religious beliefs, and strange cooking smells. Isaacs is an unseen, but prominent, presence, questioning prejudices and prying at preconceptions with remarkable results to produce a vivid picture of the attitudes and preconceptions at the heart of an increasingly multicultural Britain.
Men of the City: In his latest film, Marc Isaacs chronicles the fate of several Londoners from various social classes during the current economic crisis: a rich trader whose family have left him, a spiritually oriented street-sweeper seeking peace in his soul and a Bangladeshi immigrant whose greatest wish is to find a different job, while an apparently well-balanced, cigar-loving insurance agent desperately longs to escape his daily grind. Using footage from the seemingly eternally rain-sodden British capital, as well as an impressive and audacious use of music and sound, Isaacs fluidly balances sensitive portraits of people striving to find their place in the swarming city of London.
DVD Review: Second Run - Region 0 - PAL
|DVD Box Cover||
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|Distribution||Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL|
|Runtime||1:12:33 + :58:22|
Average Bitrate: 6.97 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital 2.0)|
• Interview with Nick Fraser
These two films are on one dual-layered DVD. All White in Barking was made in 2007 and runs 1 hour 12 minutes. Men of the City is from 2009 and is just under an hour.
I thought I was going to really have a problem with All White in Barking as I have a very low tolerance for bigots. But it is almost humorous how these people are so comfortable with their racism - yet uncomfortable with the changes occurring around them. It's more that they don't even recognize it as being flawed - `...Prefer to be with my own` despite Isaacs probing questions. We are initially told how there are very high levels of immigration in the region of Barking. There are glimmers of hope with an elderly couple agreeing to dine with their African neighbours. The ending is the most satisfying with Auschwitz survivors having a get-together and how most are comfortable with one of their friend survivors bringing a black woman. Men of the City has a different tone and I also enjoyed it very much with the prevalent class structure issue being examined in the recent economic downturn. There was a desperation of certain characters and it made for some fascinating moments of humanity. These are individual stories of fellow human beings and they are very compelling.
The image quality of both is consistent and very acceptable. Detail is strong and I suspect they may have been filmed with a digital camera. Regardless they produced strong presentation in the SD-DVD format. I had no strong issues or complaints with the video. Audio had predictable moments of being occasionally scattered as the verité productions would export. But nothing was hard to discern not even the accents. There were no subtitles offered on the Region FREE PAL rendered disc.
Supplements consist of a 15-minute interview with editor Nick Fraser and a 12-page liner notes booklet with photos and an essay by Noel Megahey. Without Second Run I doubt I would have ever been exposed to Marc Isaacs and, like Three Films by Marc Isaacs, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. If you give these films a chance I can se it being very rewarding. I look forward to showing Barking to some friends. I think it will be a nice way to start a film night.
Screen Captures - All White in Barking
Screen Captures - Men of the City