Shooting the Past

Shooting the Past

DVD - 2006
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A London mansion housing a huge library of rare old photos gets a new owner who is bent on chucking the pictures and remaking the house as a business college. The library's manager is determined to save the collection at all costs.
Publisher: New York : BBC Video ; Burbank, CA : Distributed by Warner Home Video, [2006]
Edition: Widescreen ed
ISBN: 9781419836725
Branch Call Number: DVD SHOOT
Characteristics: 2 videodiscs (approximately 183 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in


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Jul 10, 2016

Interesting, but a bit dry. Amazing B/W photography.

xaipe May 19, 2014

“Shooting The Past” is set in a fictitious London institution dedicated to the preservation of photographs. It is staffed by 4 eccentric archivists who scramble to come up with a solution for the impending takeover of the grand old building and its contents by a smooth American businessman (Liam Cunningham) who plans to dispose of the enormous photographic collection and use the building for a new business school: his dream. Sounds boring. It’s anything but. The movie opens with the news of the takeover and the staff is frantic. The curator, Oswald Bates, played to perfection by Timothy Spall, has truly astonishing powers of recall, and can locate and display any of the 10 million prints in a few minutes from memory or from an old card catalog (no computerized database here). Many of the prints are displayed over the course of the movie. Some are banal, some famous or historic photos, some erotic, some are tantalizing glimpses of life narratives which are like unsolved mysteries. Oswald’s remarkable visual memory assembles stories within stories which leave the viewer longing for more information and resolution. I was reminded of another movie which I love and never tire of watching: “La Jetee” which relies on photographic stills to construct a fascinating narrative in a motion picture. The juxtaposition of stills within a moving film narrative is fascinating, at least to me. “Shooting The Past” is one of the most deeply satisfying, enthralling, and completely realized movies I’ve ever seen. I’ve watched it many times and always discover something new. Directed by Stephen Poliakoff, a quirky and brilliant director whose other films I like, but this is his masterpiece. Don’t on any account miss it.

Thanks for Parts 1 and 2, they are great but typical of VanIsle Library the ending parts 3 and 4 are not in the system. No wonder the comment from Jane about "jury being out on the ending". None of us will see it!!

Jul 24, 2011

Every Poliakoff film we've seen is as wonderful as the last; his reputation is well-deserved. Shooting the Past is a beautifully-filmed and beautifully-told story about the importance of visual images, memory, and our personal and collective history. It shows how a well-told story brings the past to life and invites us to feel connected to it. The past is not something dead to be dismissed and discarded, but lies at the core of who we are in the present. The jury is still out about the film's ending.


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