London | Chicago Reader

London

This fictionalized English documentary (1994) sounds a bit better than it plays, though I was fascinated by all the historical details. It consists of documentary footage of London shot by art teacher and former architect Patrick Keiller and commentary by an unseen fictional narrator (Paul Scofield) returning to London after a seven-year absence, who describes various extensive walking tours taken with a former male lover named Robinson, also unseen. The narration offers fanciful, surrealistic interpretations of what we're seeing as well as hard facts and caustic remarks about the Tory government. Quite effective as a melancholy travelogue (Keiller has an eye as well as a mind), the film has less substance as fiction. In some ways it suggests an anglicized Chris Marker, with the filmmaker fictionalized and distanced through a separate narrator (as in Sans Soleil). 85 min.

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