Humphrey Jennings’ The Dim Little Island is an anomaly of post-war melancholy sprinkled with a feigned optimism for the perseverance of the British spirit. Jennings films Ford Madox Brown’s painting The Last of England and empty smoke-filled cathedrals while composer and narrator Ralph Vaughan Williams predicts that the contemporaneous decline of Britain as a world power will bring about a future of unprecedented artistic expression. Who could deny Williams’ prophesying genius when such an unprecedented artistic collaboration as that of Derek Jarman and his composer Simon Fisher Turner lay on the distant horizon with their own monumental Last of England?
The Dim Little IslandDirected by Humphrey Jennings.
UK, 1949, 35mm, black & white, 10 min.
Print source: British Film Institute