BLOOD RED. That’s the recurring colour in 1970s Deep End, a grim yet fascinating film from director Jerzy Skolimowski which has resolutely remained out of reach for film fans thanks to a rights nightmare, but which has now resurfaced on DVD.
John Moulder-Brown stars as 15-year-old Mike, recently employed to look after the customers at a rundown London swimming pool. His co-worker is redhead (there’s that colour again), Susan (Jane Asher), who flaunts her sexuality in front of the boy while attending to the needs of various men in her life.
With the moral and sexual complexities of the late 1960s forming the backdrop of their relationship, Mike becomes increasingly obsessed with Susan, causing them both to head further, both physically and mentally, into the deep end.
Filmed in Munich and London, the film may have all the trappings of a typical British New Wave drama, but there’s also a strangeness caused by the need to dub some actors and by Skolimowski’s unique take on proceedings.
Deep End is a beautiful film that deserves discovery by a new generation.
Also worth discovering is 1975’s Requiem For A Village, directed by David Gladwell, better known as editor on Lindsay Anderson’s If... and O Lucky Man!
The film invites us into the graveyard of a Suffolk village, where the past and present collide and modern life is viewed suspiciously by residents - many of whom are real locals.
Both shocking and sedate, Requiem may not have the same narrative drive as Deep End, but it’s another example of a forgotten British film which its hard to believe we forgot about.
Both films are available now on DVD and Blu-ray.
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