Running Up That Hill
Release Date: OUT NOW!
1978 | 12 | 84 minutes | £ 19.99 ( DVD) Distributor: BFI Director: John Mackenzie Cast: Stephen Petcher, Lesley Dunlop, Charles Bolton,
Andrew Byatt, Stella Tanner, Myra Frances
Gather round, children, and hear tell of an age before the apocalypse, before TV succumbed to the soul- crushing onslaught of My Big Fat Nazi Wedding and The Boy With The Infra- Red Penis.
Play For Today was BBC One’s contemporary drama strand and Red Shift exists at the more head- scratching end of its remit: Alan Garner’s adaptation of his own novel, it’s a tale preoccupied with concepts of time, folklore and the unfathomable power of the English landscape.
The story splinters across three time periods, each of them haunted by a high and ominous Cheshire hill. A troubled romance in the modern day weaves between a fight for survival in Roman times and an English Civil War massacre. It’s elliptical, uneasy and defines its decade’s post- Aquarian fascination with the ancient past: the shiver of pagan currents running alongside motorway concrete.
Garner never explains the resonance of his title. Imagine that in an age before the internet, when only a trip to the library could unlock the puzzle you’d seen on the box last night.
Extras: Alan Garner – All Systems Go, an autobiographical documentary from 1972 ( 40 minutes); brief crew interviews; Spirit Of Cheshire, a tourist- bait short from 1980 ( 20 minutes); an illustrated booklet with new essays, including one by Garner himself. Nick Setchfield Garner was inspired to write Red Shift by some curious graffiti at a train station: “Not really now not any more.”