and-when-did-you-last-see-your-father-nov-27thAdapted from Blake Morrison’s memoir of his relationship with his father, this film has a cast (Jim Broadbent, Colin Firth, and Juliet Stevenson) which makes it a compelling and unsentimental account of a difficult childhood and family life, whilst attempting to understand a complex relationship as Morrison’s father (Broadbent) becomes frail and nears death. (Cert 12A)
Dir: Anand Tucker 88 mins UK 2007
to be shown with
HOUSEWIVES’ CHOICE (Cert U) – British Women on the ‘Home’ Front, 1926-1955, a series of short films from the BFI National Archive, including: Rabbit Pies, 1934 (8 mins), They Also Serve, 1940 (11 mins), Partners in Crime, 1942 (9 mins), Homes for the People, 1945 (11 mins) and extracts from Hints and Hobbies, 1926.

Programme Notes

Thursday, 27 November 2008

UK 2007 88 minutes Cert. 12A

Based on the eponymous 1993 memoir by the poet and writer Blake Morrison, the film intersperses the present with scene’s from Morrison’s boyhood in the ’50s and ’60s. By now a successful writer, Blake (played by Colin Firth) returns to Yorkshire to care for his dying father, Arthur (Jim Broadbent). In adolescence, when first declaring his aspirations in literature, Blake had an uneasy relationship with Arthur, a bumptious and bombastic rural GP. This is revealed in flashbacks (with Matthew Beard as Blake) prompted by current interactions with his mother (Juliet Stevenson), their former au pair (Elaine Cassidy) and ‘Auntie’ Beaty (Sarah Lancashire). As his father’s life draws to a close, Blake re-evaluates their relationship.

While the synopsis suggests tragedy – and it is certainly a moving and heartfelt film – there are several humorous episodes such as Arthur’s approach to traffic jams and the camping trip to test home-made sleeping bags, and recognisable scenes from growing up. There are also some artful cinematographic effects: colours are more saturated in the flashbacks to Blake’s early childhood, and there is a mirror motif used to suggest seeing in different ways.

Anand Tucker also directed the 1999 film Hilary and Jackie (a previous ABCD screening), another film about family relationships. He was originally to direct The Golden Compass but was replaced in 2006 by Chris Weitz, giving him the opportunity to direct this British film instead.

As The Observer‘s Philip French has pointed out, the film features a further portrait by Jim Broadbent of a real-life person, following his W S Gilbert in Topsy-Turvy, Boss Tweed in Gangs of New York, John Bayley in Iris, and as the lead in the Channel 4 drama Longford.

Although Morrison grew up in Skipton, Derbyshire stands in for Yorkshire in the film thanks to a location grant. Look out for the real Blake Morrison who appears as an extra in the literary prize-giving scene early in the film.

Arthur Morrison – Jim Broadbent
Blake Morrison – Colin Firth
Blake, teenaged – Matthew Beard
Kim Morrison – Juliet Stevenson
Kathy Morrison – Gina McKee
Beaty – Sarah Lancashire
Director – Anand Tucker
Screenplay – David Nicholls
Cinematography – Howard Atherton
Film Editing – Trevor Waite
Original Music – Barrington Pheloung
Producers – Elizabeth Karlsen, Stephen Woolley

“[Broadbent] inhabits the part so convincingly that I fear his face will soon replace my father’s on the memory disc – the DVD of lost time – playing in my head.” Blake Morrison, writing in The Guardian

Also tonight
Housewives’ Choice – British Women on the ‘Home’ Front, (U) a series of short films from the BFI National Archive, including: Rabbit Pies, 1934 (8 mins.), They Also Serve, 1940 (11 mins.), Partners in Crime, 1942 (9 mins), Homes for the People, 1945 (11 mins.) and extracts from Hints and Hobbies, 1926.



“Such a fantastic film and so interestingly filmed at times!”

“Totally mesmerising – emotional and complex family life”

“A thought provoking evening – excellent”

“I liked it very much – very thought provoking.”

“Very sensitively produced – thought provoking”

“Another splendid film”

“Lovely – well acted, poignant and well filmed”

“Actually quite brilliant”

“Brilliantly and sensitively produced film”

“Brilliant and very moving”

“Lump in the throat stuff!”

“A superb film in every aspect and a difficult subject honestly tackled.”

“Deeply moving – the one relationship maybe overdone. Wonderful acting.”

“A beautiful film of a family finding its way towards honesty and reconciliation.”

“An echo of many relationships of the same era. No one ever gets to say it all before it’s too late.”

“Brought back both happy and sad memories.”

“Irritating because Dad was such a bastard but (a) plucky attempt to portray attitudes when he died. Some moving scenes near the end.”

“Insensitive father, sensitive son – it was never going to be an easy ride. Excellent acting (but) a bit harrowing to watch.”

“Excellent but I think (it) should have ended with his death.”

“With stoicism quit the scene
Hypocrisy helps, as does morphine”

“A great cast and sensitive writing but a rather soaring score”

“Too much use of mirrors but a story I can relate to only too well! Very poignant.”

“Unfortunately something we all have to go through but sensitively done.”

“Occasionally poignant but often irritating: music, mirrors – (oh) please!”

“Somewhere between bittersweet and just plain sad. Excellent cast, especially Juliet Stevenson. Not sure if having read the book spoiled it a bit (for me).”

“Great acting. I think I’d like to read the book, which might come off better than this film. Enjoyed it but it didn’t quite work seamlessly.”

“Initially rather formless but often moving”

“In the tradition of the great English romantic landscape/novel”

“Nice moment but too slow”

“Very drawn out – too long with too many reprises”

“Too boring – didn’t see what the fascination with mirrors was”


“I loved these shorts.”

“Splendid nostalgia!”

“A great time warp”

“Ah – memories!”

“Memories – and a lesson for to-day’s youth!”

“Some good stuff here. I could (actually) follow the rabbit pie recipe! A little long.”

“Those were the days! How on earth did people manage?”

“Apart from the comic shorts, I thought the MOI films about rationing and housing were honest and well made; so different from Goebbels’ propaganda (at the time).”

“A good foil for the feature but this brought back lots of memories.”

“Good fun but presumably as it was”

“Amusing but too long”

“Very tedious”

“Too long”

“I hope they didn’t hang Irene Handl for 2ozs of topside!”