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Akenfield

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Akenfield 12 rating

Peter Hall’s extraordinary, long-unseen work of sublime poetic realism traces three generations of one Suffolk family and their lives in the farming industry.

Drama 1975 98 mins

Director: Peter Hall

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Overview

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Based on Ronald Blythe’s much-loved oral history book, Akenfield traces three generations of one Suffolk family and their lives in the farming industry, with director Peter Hall – known for his theatre direction - using to great effect a cast non-professional actors drawn from the communities of several Suffolk villages.

With all three generations grandfather, father and son performed by the same actor (local farmer Garrow Shand), the film paints a compelling picture of a traditional way of life facing a period of great change, brought about by the industrialisation of the twentieth century. A profoundly romantic work of sublime poetic realism, Akenfield boasts a sweeping, rhapsodic orchestral score composed by Michael Tippett (Fantasia Concertante on a theme by Corelli) that resonates with the film’s beautiful Impressionistic cinematography, which captures seasonal changes as the film was shot on weekends only across nine months. Restored through Unlocking Film Heritage, Akenfield is the centrepiece of the BFI’s Rural Life season, which can be experienced through BFI Player’s Britain on Film map.

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