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Grandfather's Footsteps

Anne Rees-Mogg
1983
33 mins B/W Sound 16 mm

Grandfather's Footsteps

My Mother found an old cigar box full of glass negatives, stereoscopic views, mostly of the Somerset countryside taken by my great grandfather Henry Stiles Savory, who was a country clergyman. Later some more boxes of his negatives turned up at a country house sale. I printed them and made enlargements from some of them, and a few years later the idea came to me to use them in a film.

The film took me a long time to make, at first it was going to be an exploration of the similarities and differences in a landscape and the people in it between 1950 and 1982. Anthony Bruegger re-enacted great grandfather with his camera one hot day in 1981. I kept finding out more things about him and his inventions. Anthony reads from his writings. Anthony drives a lorry into the twentieth century. Finally the film becomes a debate about the roles that people assume for themselves, and perhaps hints at those they are forced to accept.

'And then, while i have a little space, about your film, like i said i like it, which i think has to do with that i think your, well shall we say quirky style, to me, fits your subject the best of anything of yours i've seen - and now i'd like to see it printed as i thought proper on a good high contrast B&W stock, and with the missing sound(s) too.' - John Jost.

'In Grandfather's Footsteps the film-maker re-evokes the presence of her great-grandfather, Henry Stiles Savory, a Victorian clergyman, photographer and scientist. It's not a costume drama, bringing in his writings, and his personal effects - books, machines, photographs - Anne Rees-Mogg emphasizes her own links with him and his preoccupations. She achieves a real sense of timelessness.' - Jo Comino

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