Directed by: Penny Woolcock
Countries & Regions: United Kingdom
Studio: British Film Institute
Length: 73 mins
Region: Region 0
Released: 21 January 2013
Cat No: BFIVD967
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The British coastline, home to docklands and many a seaside town - to both work and play - and the subject matter for more than a century's worth of materials held by the British Film Institute's National Archive. From the Sea to the Land Beyond has the unenviable task of condensing all of that wonderful footage into a single feature and yet does so with such a lightness of touch it seems to be the easiest job in the world.
Eschewing any form of commentary or narration in favour of the lilting, melodic accompaniment of Brighton-based rock band British Sea Power, director Penny Woolcock stitches together astonishing image after astonishing image, taking us through two World Wars, the end of Empire and a decline in industry, but also to Blackpool, to beauty pageants and to beachside parades. The cumulative effect is a rich tapestry, both of our national history and our national cinema. Indeed, as an advertisement for its archive and all of those riches contained within, the BFI surely couldn't have hoped for more.