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Midlands Review - Spondon: Portrait of a Village

By midlandsmovies, May 23 2018 03:12PM

Midlands Review - Spondon: Portrait of a Village

Directed by Mark Rivers

I didn’t know what to expect walking into the documentary Spondon: Portrait of a Village. I was anticipating a love letter to Spondon, that much I knew, but what could possibly be said about a village in Derby in 120 minutes of running time.

My experience and knowledge of Spondon is limited to the local ASDA and a visit to The Malt Shovel once for a poker tournament. What I didn’t know was that Spondon is a small village and a tight knit community built up of small businesses and passionate local residents who are keen to keep the village alive.

Screened to a sold out audience on a sunny Saturday afternoon, director Mark Rivers presents a warm portrait of Spondon making certain to include residents from all walks of life, ensuring every voice from every corner is heard.

Local business owners, natives old and young, parents, the unemployed and the retired all have something to say about the current condition Spondon is in, whether it be positive or negative. A fair portion of the film is spent examining the community’s participation and reaction to the referendum to leave the European Union which proves to be interesting viewing.

As I mentioned earlier, I was anticipating Spondon: Portrait of a Village to be a love letter of sorts, with nothing too vast and deep within the narrative. However, River’s takes the smooth with the rough, the blissful outlook on village life is combined with the worrying awareness that the village is constantly at risk of declining as big corporate chains and cultural shifts threaten their way of life.

A local butcher is losing business to the supermarkets, British Celanese has all but shut down due to the sourcing of its materials overseas. River’s shows us what we would be losing if we don’t support local business - a way of life. Professionally shot and edited, it was a pleasure to spend what didn’t feel like two hours at all due to the pacing of the film.

Clearly I wasn’t the only one who thought this as the film received a rapture of an applause at the end of the screening, to my surprise from the very people who featured in the documentary.

I hope further screenings of Spondon: Portrait of a Village are planned so as to give more people the opportunity to watch this treasure of a documentary.

Guy Russell

Twitter @budguyer

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