Red Shift

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Dvd & blu- ray -

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.”

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