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Saturday, April 27

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U.K., 1979
Directed by Ken Loach
Based on the novel by Leon Garfield
With Stephen Hirst, Louise Cooper, Jean Franval
Cinematography by Chris Menges
Approx. 110 mins. DCP.

“Twelve-year-old Tolly (Stephen Hirst) works for a draper who secretly sells corpses to a medical college. When one body improbably springs back to life, the boy teams up with the survivor (Jean Franval), a Frenchman who calls himself Black Jack and explains that he lived through a hanging. Together, they travel around England selling fraudulent cures at fairs. Tolly meets Belle (Louise Cooper), a runaway from the mental institution her father unjustly condemned her to, and the two fall in love. She joins this odd couple on the road, and Tolly spends the rest of the film persuading her that she’s not really insane.” – Steve Erickson, Screen Slate


“One of the best evocations of the eighteenth century one has seen on screen… The children are marvelous, the location photography is often stunning and the dialogue has the sense of reality Loach always manages to impart.”
– Derek Malcolm

“Loach’s gray, grimy realism is what makes the film: the muted colors and ratty-looking costumes evoke an age when bathing and laundering were more involved affairs.”
Chicago Reader

Film Forum