The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (12)

We are showing this film in response to the requests, through the Survey that we carried out, that we have more Members’ screenings and more opportunities for discussion of classic films. The film will be briefly introduced and set in the world cinema context. Afterwards, there will be a facilitated discussion of the film.

We chose The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner because it is a British Film Institute classic, which has been digitally re-mastered and featured by them as a particularly important film in cinema history. It is one of a small group of films , made in the very early Sixties, whose directors were influenced by the theatre and novels of the time. Playwrights and novelists were aiming for more realism and exploration of working-class people and their backgrounds and the issues they were facing. Labels such as ‘kitchen sink drama’ and ‘angry young men’ have been applied to this work. This film, in particular, explores how an individual can assert his independence in the face of an oppressive system.

The themes of the book and film have continued to inspire musicians and writers since the Sixties. Heavy metal group Iron Maiden and punk band The Angelic Upstarts have both written songs with the same title and the black playwright Roy Williams has rewritten the script for modern times, setting his play in the context of last year’s riots in London.

We are able to explore the close relationship between film and novel, through a tie-up with the Wivenhoe Bookshop Bookclub. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, based on the novel by Alan Sillitoe, is also the book for the Bookclub in November.

Syd Bailey

This is a special screening starting at 7 pm on Monday 10th December in the British Legion Hall in Wivenhoe. It’s open to Moving Image Members and their guests. Member tickets are priced at £4.50 (£6 for guests) and non-members can also join at the door. There will be an introduction to the film with a discussion afterwards, and there will also be a pay bar. Tickets are also available in advance at the Wivenhoe Bookshop.