BEHIND THE SHED DOOR
The garden shed has become a feature of the British way of life. People do all sorts things in their garden sheds. It’s called pottering, but I don’t think that depiction is true anymore. Pottering about in your shed probably derived from potting on, as in I’m just popping out to the shed to pot the tomatoes on, and thus and very soon to pop out to one’s shed became synonymous with pottering. But pottering about out there today embraces all sorts of activities. Some paint out there in their sheds, some write, some grow things, some muse, some speculate and some just simply escape from reality and sit out there and chill. Sheds have grown from the ramshackle to the bespoke. You may now order up a garden shed that when built will be every bit as comfortable as a room in your house – in some cases more so. The shed has become our personal tardis where anything and everything may seem possible, and it is in and from her own garden shed that our daughter decided to try and save the world.
You may say that this is a pretty big ask, or you may say that she’s a dreamer, but in fact only the first answer is correct. Our daughter is a grown woman so we’re not talking about a child playing out in a garden room pretending to be Wonderwoman (remember her? I bet you do) – although in her time I’m sure she’s been there and done that. Our daughter is a married woman with two children of her own and a husband with whom she runs a film production company from a garden shed – and the result of her labours over the last three years is that this very week she flies out to the Cannes Film Festival where she has been invited to show her plan to save the world at a Special Screening, one of only two female film directors to be showing their work there this year.
Back here at home we sit basking like emotional Ready-Brekkers in a warm glow of pride since this is our daughter’s first full length film, one hour and forty minutes in all, during which time those who have already seen it can hardly believe what they are seeing nor accept what they are being told. No, no it’s not some Tarantino like fiction with what is called some violence, strong language and scenes of a sexual nature, nor is it some bastard son of the latest genre of vampire movies. No – this film is a documentary and it was fired and inspired by our daughter’s determination to try and help save this poor beleaguered world of ours from suffocation.
I’m not going to spoil it for you or for her by describing what the film contains, other than to say it is all about what we do with our garbage – not just here but globally and that is talking about a very, very large amount of waste. Yes, many of us know this is a problem, but I wonder how many of us know how great a problem it is, or more importantly just what a catastrophic effect on both humanity and the environment the way we dispose – or in many cases do not dispose – of these mountains (yes, literally mountains) of filthy, stinking, rotting and highly toxic waste is having. When you see this film you may come to some understanding of quite how tragic the situation has become as we all go about quite thoughtlessly furring up the arteries of this our once wonderful world.
In order to make this film she and her star, the highly pensive and genuinely concerned Mr Jeremy Irons who does not narrate the film – he and our putrefying world is the film – both of them travelled the world to some serious danger spots and some very hostile territory where they encountered some terrible truths and saw some quite literally heart rending sights. Jeremy is the perfect choice to play this constantly stalking global conscience as he looks as though he has been worrying about the world and all its capers ever since he first entered the frame aged dot – and as becomes immediately apparent his concern is one hundred per cent kosher – as indeed is the director’s disquiet and increasing unease. Nobody could witness what these two and their intrepid crew witnessed without under-going the most profound of sea changes.
She says the making of this film is a bit my fault because when she was little after her mother had finished reading her Peter Rabbit I would top the bill nightly by reading a couple of pages from The Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, and then afterwards as she was growing up her mother and I wrote a play about a family disintegrating on holiday when a father’s increasing environmental concern takes over their lives, followed soon after by the television drama series called Forever Green that was largely autobiographical, concerning as it did a family’s enforced move to the country because of their asthmatic daughter slowly choking to death in an increasingly polluted London. I don’t think it was a bit my fault at all. I think our daughter had her very own reasons for making this astonishing film which were all to do with what actors call internals. The way I see it is that when you have spent most every day of your childhood fighting for your next breath if not for your very existence you are very readily inclined to see the world about you quite differently from your peers.
Nor could anyone give her the talent to make a film like this. Her determination to make everyone aware of just what we are doing - particularly with waste incineration - is utterly singular, just as was her fortitude in raising the considerable finance needed for the project herself, and then determining not only to produce it herself but to write and direct it as well. That is the sort of cinema the French so admire and she is the personification of the Gallic idol – auteur – the film maker who conceives, writes and directs the movie - and as a result of her singularity of purpose, her vision, and her talent I think she finally may find a place in les cahiers du cinema.
And all this from a garden shed – a wonder-world where first she dreamed her film up and where finally she dubbed a score on the final cut by none other than the hugely talented Greek composer, Vangelis, known to our granddaughter as Vanjelly (flavour unknown). The film is not being shown in competition for the Palme d’Or but was included by Special Invitation of the Festival and designated worthy of a prestigious Special Screening, red carpet and all. They tell us that she is in running for Best New Female Woman Director or something, but to us that is what we in this family call a be-that-as-it-may, for to us her parents, as well as her brother, Matthew and producer husband Titus Ogilvy - Candida Brady has already won her accolade, which is why I have just put the finishing touches to the trophy we shall present to her on her return – a mounted facsimile of the entrance to her tardis – Le Shed d’Or.
Watch the trailer: