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Day #174/365: Strawberry Fields & Wreckers; the hinterland/village as edgeland

Strawberry Fields-2012-A Year In The Country
File under: Trails and Influences. Other Pathways. Case #25/52.
Edgeland Report Documents; Cases #6a-7a.

Something of a favourite around these parts is the film Strawberry Fields. I’m not quite sure why…

It’s basically a film about a postwoman who is possibly running away from the loss of her mother and her over demanding, somewhat unsettled sister. She seeks escape in some seasonal strawberry picking fields and the film becomes a compressed microcosm of lives, loves, family and friendships, all of which seem to fracture, stumble and tumble in a brief moment of time.

The setting feels like a world unto itself; it comprises mostly of just the picking fields, ramshackle semi-derelict buildings, temporary accommodation, deserted beaches, neglected barns and equipment, the concrete brutalism and shabby infrastructure of the local railway station and monolithic overhead roadways (spaghetti junction relocated amongst the fields and flatlands). Everything apart from the roadway looks cobbled together, patched up, built from whatever could be found…

Strawberry Fields-2012-A Year In The Country 3

And the colours in the fields are often just ever so slightly over vivid, adding just a touch of unrealness to it all…

Adding to that, it’s a world curiously free of controlling older adult influences. There’s possibly only one such person whose face is seen… the characters feel like barely contained adults rampaging as unsupervised children through emotions and this brief snapshot of life…

Strawberry Fields-2012-A Year In The Country-2

And when I first saw the images of the overhead roadway when I was heading towards A Year In The Country, something chimed inside me, the juxtaposition of nature and the unforgiving, un-beauty of this man-made structure seemed to sum something up… it made me want to pick up and my camera and find where it was, to capture the spirit it represented.

Strawberry Fields is a vision of the countryside and coastal hinterland as a form of literal and emotional edgeland: the structures, physical and personal, are thrown together, tumbledown, temporary, in a state of flux…

…which leads me to the film Wreckers.

Wreckers-2011-film-A Year In The Country

In this the often relaxing vision of the village as an orderly country idyll is gently flipped on its side: a tour around the village leads not to “Oh, that’s a pretty church” but to a cataloguing of who did what traumatic thing where, the emotional relationships and rules feel like they have reverted back to some earlier unregulated medieval time.

Wreckers-2011-film-A Year In The Country 2

As in Strawberry Fields, the physical structures aren’t neatly polished chocolate box visions of the countryside; the cottage that should have roses running up the outside and be full of quaint comforting knickknacks is in the process of being renovated… but it doesn’t feel like it’s being spruced up, rather that it has had its niceties stripped away and left raw, the other buildings shown are generally tumble down throwbacks and bodged together barns.

These films are a brief view of places where normality and the subtle veneers of civility and civilisation have quietly stepped back for a moment and come unfrayed around the edges…. or as the title of this page says, here the hinterland/village is shown and seen as a form of edgeland.

Troubadour Rose-Bryony Afferson-Strawberry Fields 2012-A Year In The Country-higher contrast

PS Nice soundtrack to Strawberry Fields, largely by  Bryony Afferson and her band Troubadour Rose. All slightly dusty Americana tinged folk songs that lodge in the mind for days, drones and snatches of ghostly vocals.

The trailer to The Wreckers can be viewed here. It can be found in the ether here.

The trailer to Strawberry Fields can be viewed here and you can pick your own here. Despite what I’ve written above, this isn’t a grim, gritty realist drama. In many ways it’s a gentle, touching film… not too dissimilar could also be said about Wreckers (though that is possibly a touch more emotionally harsh as a film).


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