From a beautifully conceived film-poem and an imaginative exploration of the Lower Lea Valley to an uplifting documentary on a London landmark, the collaborations between much-loved electronic indie trio Saint Etienne and filmmaker Paul Kelly (Lawrence of Belgravia) document London's ever-changing environment and landscapes accompanied by music from the band. Available together for the very first time, this loose trilogy is supported by a selection of rare and previously unavailable short films.
Finisterre (2003) is a homage to London featuring a host of well-known voices who've made the capital their own, sound tracked by songs from the Saint Etienne album of the same name.
What Have You Done Today Mervyn Day? (2005) follows paperboy Mervyn Day on his round, tracing the fascinating hidden history of East London's Lower Lea Valley in the years before it was redeveloped to become the Olympic Park.
Commissioned by the Royal Festival Hall to mark its renovation and reopening, This is Tomorrow (2007) lovingly records the immense labour that went into the refurbishment of one of London's most distinguished concert venues.
A poetic set of movies
- A London Trilogy: The Films of Saint Etienne 2003-2007 review by Sandy
There are three films on this disc. Of the three Finisterre is the strongest. The last is a documentary of the South Bank Centre which is pretty superficial - the BBC has made a better one more recently about the Festival of Great Britain and the restoration work.
Both Finisterre and What have you done today Mervyn Day take nostalgic looks at London life. Finisterre flits around different districts and people tell stories about what London used to be like - or you get a film of a train pulling into a station with some atmospheric music. Both these films pretty much fall into the realm of Psychogeography where fragments of history and current events are blended together. As such, the films work more as atmospheric landscapes rather than traditional movies or documentaries with a firm story to tell you. You feel your way through this movie, and you don't get into the groove, the chances are the movie will leave you cold, or non-plussed.
If you like this style of movie, then Robinson in Space and Swandown are movies in a similar vein which would be worthwhile exploring.