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Nick WadleyClick here to Print this Page
Anne Rees Mogg
Looked at again in the light of what her films are about, all these casually improvised qualities can appear less amateurish than calculated, polemic almost.

Look again at Real Time. The second half is a car journey (Anne driving, camera in the passenger seat) from London down to Somerset on the M4. ('I love that clock', Anne says on the way out of London, 'a landmark to the West.') The film of the drive is framed at each end by a short clip of saturated red poppies waving in the breeze, not just roadside poppies as some commentaries suggest: to Anne's generation who grew up in World War II, the red poppy is - by instinct - a memorial flower, symbolic of death and sleep.

After long droning stretches of empty motorway (those were the days), Anne's long, off-camera soliloquy recalls a moment near death, when she was in hospital with an undiagnosed gallstone problem. Reluctantly agreeing to surgery, she recognised the possibility that she might not survive. There follows a revelatory liberation - from her Catholic upbringing, from mundane cares, from mortality even. She experienced "my own immortality, an immortality outside time… just this connected, shining, perfect, continued consciousness, like a small bright bead of almost nothing… Deeply comforted, I prepared to live or die with equal equanimity."

After a long silence, and a reprise of the poppies, the disembodied recorded voice of Anne's mother talks of her memory, full of people and sunshine, while we look ahead at the west-bound road and the landscape. Then silence, more poppies and the song, 'if I had a talking picture of you'. The car crosses the river towards Somerset and the Rees-Mogg family home at Temple Cloud. 'Going west, back to childhood, back to death' Anne says. After the credits, earlier home movie footage of a Lagonda automobile completes the journey, in black and white, with Anne-as-child in the passenger seat, past the lodge where she still spends half her time, up the drive to the big house. This stitches together more than the two halves of the film.

Real Time, 1971-74
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