Newbury films in London, Tuesday 31st January

Andy Worthington a.worthington at
Sat Jan 28 11:17:03 GMT 2006

Hi there,

Short notice, I know, but I've just received this info. from Neil Goodwin ('Operation Solstice') about a Newbury film night at his film club in south London this Tuesday (7.30 on Jan 31st). 

Please pass on

All the best,


Newbury 10th anniversary double bill
The Little Tramp film club

7.30pm - Tuesday 31st January 2006
The Pullens Centre, 184 Crampton Street, Kennington, SE17

Entrance: donation
Tel: 020 8659 6150

'Wars of the British Tree People'
(A film by Keeley Purdue, 1996, 42 mins.) 

We follow the treetop struggle to stop the building of a new road around the English town of Newbury. Inside a giant treehouse, hammocks, ragged carpets and a stove create an air of cosy domesticity. The CB radio crackles with news of the day's defeats. Protesters are frantically fortifying the camp and trees with barbed wire.

The film gets close to the people behind the protest movement. Their arguments are candid and intelligent, rising above the stereotypical subculture reports. 

As spring sets in in Britain, the treetop battles get angrier and bloodier. In one attack protesters watch in horror as a tree falls onto one of the police climbers. The forest dwindles until the pine stands alone in a vast field of mud.

One rainy morning a battalion of bulldozers appears. Men in fluorescent coats and riot helmets are lifted by roaring cranes to the top branches. Protesters throw paint and urine at them. It takes four cranes to get the protesters out of the pine. Finally the whirring chainsaws are ready to fell the tree. 

'The Battle for Rickety Bridge'
(International Broadcasting Trust, 1996, 30 mins.) 

A documentary which challenges stereotypes of older people by showing their involvement in the Newbury by-pass protests. Amongst the dreadlocked, nose-ringed protesters in the tunnels and trees were 'respectable' retired people who, having gone to find out what was going on, stayed to fight by supporting the activists. Gradually, as the protest continued, they too became active in the battle: 'I do all this because I have great-grandchildren', says Phyllis, 'and I want them to see the countryside.'

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