Night Mail

While studying photography I was fortunate enough to see the 1936 documentary Night Mail twice. The film is an experimental documentary about the postal train travelling from London to Scotland. It was screened by David Reid at Nottingham Trent University and also Peter Rae while at HfK Bremen.

It is an interesting document of people’s lives in the 1930s but also a perfect piece in its own right. This 24 minute film is a triumph of innovative camera work, storytelling, excitement and poetry all matched to the timbre of the sound of the train wheels.

Sadly youtube doesn’t hold a candle to seeing the film on a cinema screen.

On the subject of post, I recently read that in 1680s London there were up to 10 deliveries a day. Perhaps the modern complaint of being too ‘connected’ with Twitter, email and mobile phones isn’t such a modern one after all.

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