EXODUS (4 stars)


(15) 111min

(Soda DVD retail)

One of Britain’s best-known maverick filmmakers, Penny Woolcock (Mischief Night, The Principles of Lust), teams up with Artangel (an organisation that commissions and produces projects by contemporary artists), Antony Gormley and the city of Margate to present a revisionist version of the Old Testament’s ‘Book of Exodus’.

Margate’s Dreamland (lyrically captured in Lindsay Anderson’s O Dreamland in 1953) has been deftly dressed up in cast offs from the last Bond spectacle Casino Royale and filled with extras, 90% of which are town locals. Woolcock’s characteristic ‘improvised drama’ has never been so ambitious, the culmination of which comes in the live burning of Gormley’s 80 ft ‘Wasteman’ junk-sculpture, captured in one single take. This is a tense experience that Woolcock admits she would think twice about repeating. Timeless issues of migration and identity are skilfully woven into a contemporary narrative, which can best be appreciated through the film’s DVD extras. Short documentaries The Making of Exodus and Wasteman both perfectly capture the mixture of local curiosity and humour towards the project.

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