EDEN VALLEY (Amber Production Team, 1994)

Directed by the Amber Production Team, a Newcastle-based collective exploring the British working class, Eden Valley focuses on a Northumberland horsebreeder and his teenaged son. Following a decade-long estrangement, the two have been reunited as a result of the boy’s having been caught stealing.
     Gorgeously filmed in somber, misty light and colors, the richly detailed piece strikes a fine balance, in tone and manner, between fiction and documentary until, at the end, it collapses into “visual story-telling,” thinning out. Until these Spielbergian five minutes, the primary influence, surely, has been Ken Loach.
     Watching this sympathetic treatment of (hard)working people, the entranced viewer as easily sees the son in the father as the father in the son.

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