“There’s something in the atmosphere that makes everything exaggerated.”
That’s the keystone phrase smack in the middle of this riveting new video essay by Serena Bramble. The video, titled “Art Goes on Forever,” pays tribute to one of the most storied collaborations in film history, that between Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, also known as The Archers. Bramble takes the propulsive, half-mad energies that run through the Archers’ films and amps them up further with her rapid-fire cutting, following a feverish associative logic that is as intriguing to decipher as it is bracing to behold. Watching this montage you can get a sense of why Martin Scorsese considers the Archers among his most primary filmmaking influences.
Bramble’s video premiered on PressPlay, an exciting new blog on the IndieWire network. Edited and managed by Matt Zoller Seitz and Ken Cancelosi, PressPlay promises to spotlight critically insightful videos and other content on movies, television and other media. Some recent highlights include Matt and Ken’s tribute to Jim Henson’s Muppets (originally published on the Moving Image Source) and Ed Copeland’s spirited rant against Netflix’s recent price hike.
Back to Bramble’s entry, she accompanies her video with an essay that includes “The Archers’ Manifesto,” which Emeric Pressburger wrote in the 1940s, but just as well today as the rallying cry for every truly independent filmmaker wishing to bring their visions to the screen, uncompromised:
1. We owe allegiance to nobody except the financial interests which provide our money; and, to them, the sole responsibility of ensuring them a profit, not a loss.
2. Every single foot in our films is our own responsibility and nobody else’s. We refuse to be guided or coerced by any influence but our own judgement.
3. When we start work on a new idea we must be a year ahead, not only of our competitors, but also of the times. A real film, from idea to universal release, takes a year. Or more.
4. No artist believes in escapism. And we secretly believe that no audience does. We have proved, at any rate, that they will pay to see the truth, for other reasons than her nakedness.
5. At any time, and particularly at the present, the self respect of all collaborators, from star to prop-man, is sustained, or diminished, by the theme and purpose of the film they are working on.
If you’re interested in seeing the vision of The Archers in full, you can watch one of their first triumphs, Contraband, here on Fandor:
WATCH CONTRABAND ON FANDOR: