A walk in the park turns sinister…

It is a sunny afternoon in an enchanted corner of England.

Strains of elegiac classical music fade up on the soundtrack, as a camera begins to gently move along a riverbank gradually revealing an elaborate tableau.

Burnt sunbathers, beer-drinking kids, an abandoned baby, a rabbit in a boat, a bicycle accident – in WHO KILLED BROWN OWL, the perfect English arcadia gives way to varying kinds of misfortune, disruption and violence.

With more than a passing reference to the ‘narrative’ paintings by masters such as Bruegel, this spectacular single take 9-minute short is about a lazy Sunday afternoon that goes horribly wrong. Filmed over the course of one afternoon in 2003, WHO KILLED BROWN OWL features a volunteer cast of almost 100 residents of the London Borough of Enfield and is the the first in the CIVIC LIFE series of films.

WHO KILLED BROWN OWL won the Best British Short Film Award at the 58th Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Since July 2003 Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor have worked on a unique and richly cinematic series of films made in negotiation with local residents and community groups. At the centre of the work is the relationship these communities have to the environments in which they live and work. All of the CIVIC LIFE films are shot on 35mm cinemascope making extensive use of the long take and involving largely non-professional casts made up of volunteers from the local communities.

Their most recent film, TIONG BAHRU, is currently on tour around the world. Details, here.

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