The GIF is made from a short black and white film called Lowland Village (Daniel Catling, 1943). It was one of the many films made for the British Council in the 1940s to project an image of Britishness abroad. It is neither a favourite nor a least favourite film. So I cheated there. I have just become interested in the British Council Film Archive because it has made an archive of 112 films available online under a Creative Commons licence so that they can be downloaded, played with and remixed. This is a great opportunity to engage in a creative way with an important archive and moment in British history and question it from our own perspectives today.
According to the catalogue, Lowland Village is:
‘The description of a typical lowland village, Lavenham in Suffolk, once a centre of the wool industry. The Guildhall stands in the market place, surrounded by the fifteenth-century houses. Lavenham is both mediaeval and up to date. It lies in the heart of fertile arable lowlands, and on farming its life depends.’
(Films of Britain – British Council Film Department Catalogue – 1944-45)
According to the British Council website, Lavenham village square has been a popular filming location for many years including Witchfinder General (1968), John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Apotheosis (1970), and Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2010) and Part 2 (2011). Maybe that is where the popular film resonance lies. My particular obsession with this film is the villager who retires to the pub after work to drink one perhaps of many beers in a large boot-shaped glass.
Lowland Villager at the Waterhole
The film was downloaded from the web in MP4 format and converted to AVI so that I could import it into Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0. I tried several shots and lengths before settling for this. It is slightly speeded up and consists of two shots with one reversed to get the backward and forward motion. It was then exported as an animated GIF file. I love loops.