- Radio Times
- Review by:
- Alison Graham
“A beautiful mess” is how Big Issue seller Hazel describes London, the city she calls home. In this quietly lyrical film, the observations of “ordinary” contemporary Londoners, including cab drivers and a crane operator, are interwoven with representations of the capital in words and paintings across the centuries.
Canaletto’s idealised pictures are contrasted with the grotesques of Hogarth’s Gin Lane. Clever CGI imagines what London would have been like if Wren’s blueprint, post the Great Fire, had been completed and we glimpse the London shrouded in “pea soupers”. The words come from John Betjeman, JG Ballard, Conrad, Tolstoy and wartime CBS reporter Ed Murrow.
About this programme
Documentary charting the growth of London over the years, using eyewitness accounts to reveal how life in the city has changed. In addition to familiar paintings, the programme draws on a range of visual records including posters, cartoons, architectural sketches, maps, photos and film.
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