ANOTHER TIME, ANOTHER PLACE
UK, 1983, 110 minutes, Colour.
Phyllis Logan, Giovanni Mauriello, Tom Watson, Gian Luca Favilla.
Directed by Michael Radford.
Another Time, Another Place is based on a Scottish novel by Jessie Keeson and was filmed in Scotland's Black Isle. It is the first feature by writer-director Michael Radford. It stars a local cast and Italian stars. The central performance by Phyllis Logan is an excellent one. She is well-supported by Giovanni Mauriello as the homesick Italian P.O.W., Luigi.
While all the material in the film has been seen before and is generally predictable, the central performances and the visual beauty of the locations and the cold Scottish atmosphere make the film different in mood and insight. Perhaps the film's smaller budget means than it lacks finesse in editing and composition. However, its emotional impact is ultimately very strong.
1. A humane film? An effective emotional drama? Authentic? Quiet and understated?
2. The Scots setting and authentic atmosphere? The title and the reference to memory? Understanding? The locations with their ruggedness, beauty? The focus on the earth and the seasons? Colour and colourlessness? Warmth and cold? The models of artwork e.g. Millet? The tableau of the workers in the fields? Distant shots of workers? The field, the mountains, the bay? The focus on work? Isolated communities? The people within the isolation? The celebration of a ceilidh? The musical score, dramatic. plaintive, romantic?
3. The title and timelessness? ordinary but extraordinary? World War II? Prisoners of war? Exile and alienation? Home?
4. The style and the emphasis on the visual and action? Feeling? Less reliance on communication by word? The Scots accent? The use of Italian language? Communication and barriers? The film's style and use of suggestion, understatement, dramatic moments, close-ups? An effective way of overcoming predictability?
5. Janie's world, her time and her place? The opening and the ending focusing on her gaze? Very little happening in the external world? Everything happening in the inner world? Janie as a woman of this world? Her friends, her caution in the community, her work? The atmosphere of the war? Jess and her husband fighting in Italy, her antagonism towards the Italian prisoners, the death of her husband and Monte Casino? Janie's encounters with Jess? Urging her to work? Janie's relationship to her husband, his age, dour style? Bringing the potatoes, looking at the bunkhouse for the Italians. glad of the money coming in, the birth of the calf, the milking, the cattle, the quiet life, the meals, the straightforward sexual encounters? The film's comment on the Scot style and expectations? Janie's limited horizons, her being dissatisfied but having no other world or opportunity to escape? The hard work, the threshing, the sowing of the vegetables. the potatoes? The scenes of her washing and the indirect comment on sensuality? Her nudity? Her preparing the bunkhouse for the Italians, cleaning up, teaching them how to light the lamp? Her fascination with them? Welcoming them, helping e.g. with the coupons for bacon? Her sharing the welcome, her looking at each of them, the immediate attraction to the handsome Paolo, looking at their pictures, their possessions? The language barrier, yet warm communication? Her getting to know each of them? Talking, bringing the letters? The dance and her exuberance, clapping? Her response to her friends singing? Gradually sharing the life of the prisoners of war? Luigi and his story, his sexual propositioning and her shocked refusal? The Christmas celebration, the gift, her entering into the vigorous Neapolitan songs and dances? Her growing compassion for Luigi, his illness, the sexual experience and her allowing it, her feelings of passion, her sensual fantasies ? coming nude before the other prisoners? The fantasies while she was milking? The clash with her husband? The jealousy of Else and her fantasies? The passing of the seasons? The end of the war? Luigi’s proposal for one more meeting? The passionate encounter? Luigi and his leaving and her staying? Her guilt, concern, wanting to tell her husband? Luigi's arrest? Going to the police and yet Luigi still being incriminated because of his liaison with a civilian? Her going to Jess ? and Jess's warm response to her? Her final gaze ? what would happen, what happened?
6. The Scots atmosphere: Dougal and his dour style, the focus on work. meagre recreation, the counting of the money, the matter-of-fact sexual encounters. his limited expectations? The Scottish man and his place in society? The workers. the tractors? Finley and his overseeing the work? The ceilidh and the drinking, the dancing? The style of ceremony? The singing of 'The Rowan Tree'? The women and the war effort, the work in the fields. the looking at the clothes in fashion magazines? The background of the outside world ? the dance-band records of the '40s? The women, singing. cleaning house, shopping? Friends? The tractor driver and his genial attitudes? The reaction of the locals to the Italians, distance, the children not allowed to go near them ? yet allowed when the war was over?
7. The importance of Jess - her experience, the death of her husband. against the Italians, her final compassionate welcome of Janie?
8. The Italians and their place in the war. the opening sequence of their arrival, the cold and the wet, a sense of exile and alienation? The work in the fields. the cold and their sore hands, the chaff and its cutting? The bunkhouse and their conditions? Their longing for letters? Memories, photos, wife, mother, the photo of Alida Valli? The Madonna? The religious background and Janie showing the women the sign of the cross and the reverence to the Madonna? Italian language? The various groups? The clashes, inner tension, Luigi not cooking? The others' anger? The celebration to Christmas, the singing and dancing? The Italian raping Else? War's end and the joy?
9. Umberto and his socialist background, professor? His charm, observer, anger? Paolo and his devotion to his wife, the letters? Luigi and his place in the group? Their Protecting him at the end?
10. Luigi as the central Italian focus? Audience expecting Janie to fall in love with Paolo? Luigi and the arrival, the lighting of the lamp, the Madonna and the carving of it, his reverence, prayer? Love for his mother? Memories of Naples, the warm weather? Participation in the work? His growing depression? Singing? Christmas and the song and the dance? The attraction towards Janie? His loneliness, sexual proposition and her repelling him? His continued grief, no letters, scattering the postman's letters? The sexual encounter and his satisfaction? Response to Janie? His eyeing Else? War's end? His wanting to be with Janie one more time? The passionate encounter, the reflection on the meaning of relationship? His arrest and plaintive look? His being loved by Janie and her trying to save him? The fact that he could not be saved from the court?
11. The importance of the seasons, the weather, the crops, the passing of the year, milking, the cows, the birth of the calf, harvest?
12. A sense of isolation, the war, Jess and Janie watching the plane fly over, references to Monte Casino, to the '40s music the meaning of war for Scots people?
13. The theme of comparisons and clashes of cultures? Isolation, interaction, each group preserving its identity? The comparison between the ceilidh and the singing of 'The Rowan Tree' and the Italian celebration of Christmas?
14. Themes of human nature. needs, relationships, loneliness, marriage, growth, suffering, responsibility?