Looking East: Lunchtime Archive Film Show

Throughout the summer of 2012 the Cambridge Film Festival has been screening archive footage shot in the East of England from the past 100 years. LOOKING EAST is a collaboration between Media Archive of Central England (MACE), East Anglian Film Archive, and Norwich HEART Digital Heritage Project, and showcases of some of the best archive footage from the region. The project is a wonderful record of how life in East Anglia and Essex has changed over the years, including industry, leisure and travel.

The LOOKING EAST programme consists of three separate features. The first feature is a collection by the East Anglia Film Archive, which features the first colour film produced by an amateur photographer. The footage, shot on Dufaycolor film in 1934, shows families on holiday on Cromer beach in Norfolk. It is a delightful glimpse back to a time when colour photography was both rare and expensive.

The second feature, OUR SPORTING LIVES, produced by Digital Heritage, offers footage of the region’s sporting heritage. It includes clips from the opening of Ipswich Golf Course in 1928, Newmarket Racecourse from 1934 and a brilliant newsreel from Anglia television from 1968 detailing the rivalry between Ipswich and Norwich. The newsreader’s clipped received pronunciation is a lovely reminder of the rigid formalism that news broadcasters were required to adopt.

BON VOYAGE has some quite melancholic moments, such as the footage of the closing of Southwold railway…

The third film, BON VOYAGE (also produced by Digital Heritage) is a record of almost 100 years of transport in East Anglia. The film is narrated by Norfolk resident John Hurt, whose rich voice lends itself brilliantly to the film. BON VOYAGE has some quite melancholic moments, such as the footage of the closing of Southwold railway, when hundreds of locals lined the track to wave goodbye as the last train rolled by. There are also upbeat moments, such as fantastic displays of aerobatics from air shows as stuntmen wing walk across the top of their biplanes.

The film also features clips from further afield, such as footage taken by a family on their holiday to Paris, in 1931. The family are seen in front of the Palace of Versaille, Sacré-Cœur Basilica, and they even take the camera to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower. To add to the Francophile tone, there are also brilliant shots of the same family on their trip to Lourdes five years later.

LOOKING EAST is a fantastic selection of captivating scenes that remind us of who we are and where we came from. For people interested in more archive footage from the region, over 200 hours are available free at the East Anglian Film Archive’s website: www.eafa.org.uk