Saturday, July 26, 2008

Gordon Brown in Southwold: "Drowning by Numbers"

Our prime minister is certainly doing his bit for the Union by spending his summer holiday in Southwold. As the town's website says, "Southwold is a quintessentially English resort town".

It is also "charming", as that website claims. By contrast, Aldeburgh, just down the coast, is rather a bleak place and would not be such a tourist destination were it not for the Festival and the Britten connection in general.

But, in line with the view of Englishness held by this blog, Southwold has its sinister side too. This was brilliantly brought out by Peter Greenaway in his film Drowning by Numbers. As a website dedicated to his work says:
This is a picture that offers so much to the viewer. It is beautiful, but also, at times, grotesque. It is intriguing and complex, and covers a cornucopia of subjects. The film has an elegant Englishness about it. It is a film that always requires your attention and one that you will want to return to.

The story is about three women, all with the same name, Cissie Colpitts, each from different age groups, who have something in common, they each murder their husbands by drowning them. escape punishment from this by consenting to the needs of an amorous coroner, Madgett. Madgett's young son, Smut, tells us about different games, each of them rather odd. The film has a wonderful surreal feel to it.
Mr Brown should be careful in Southwold. As Smut says: "A great many things are dying very violently all the time."

1 comment:

HE Elsom said...

I'd forgotten that Drowning by numbers was set in Southwold. A friend of mine who was in a marital bad spot really loved it because it is about murdering men, while I just enjoyed the performances and the very dark humour. Until now I thought that the coroner was called Badgett, I assumed in homage to the constitutional theorist and founder of The Economist.