Postcards from the 48%

 

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A deeply considered film that presents the case for questioning Brexit and the way in which it is being handled.

 
Postcards from the 48%

Alastair Campbell

 

Essay films are a rare breed and it is even rarer to find one dealing with a single issue of the day. But Brexit is in itself exceptional so it is not surprising that it should have yielded a film arguing against the folly of the Brexiteers. The man who has given us this work is David Nicholas Wilkinson who not only directs but provides a voice over while also putting himself in front of the camera as he travels the United Kingdom to talk to some of the 48% who voted to Remain in the 2016 Referendum. In doing this he achieves exactly the right balance since, in contrast to the likes of Michael Moore, he does not play on his own personality but acts as a channel enabling his interviewees to express their views. Those who do so include politicians (Nick Clegg, Vince Cable, Catherine Bearder), celebrities (Bob Geldof, Joan Bakewell, Ian McEwan), pundits (Professor A.C. Grayling, Henry Porter) and ordinary folk identified only by their first names but eager to speak out.

 

Wilkinson indicates that his film, shot over eighteen months, was made to remind those countries in the European Union of the extent to which the Leave vote had limited support. It could, of course, be suggested that within the UK it will be preaching to the converted but, as a Remainer myself, I hope that Leavers will take note of this film. They ought to do so because, after outlining issues around the Referendum itself, it goes on to follow through the chaotic history of how things have been handled, brings in warning voices from industry, focuses on such key matters as the Irish Border, contrasts the new and disturbing nationalism emerging with the outlook we had in the past (the welcome we gave to Jewish refugees and the contribution of Poles over here in World War II), counters some of the misleading statements made by those supporting Brexit and questions just how democratic it has been to date (it is declared that the way in which the Referendum was managed was a constitutional outrage). It also warns of the possible future break-up of the United Kingdom should Brexit proceed so as to lead to Scottish independence and to a move for a unified Ireland.

 

The film may be on the long side but that is justified with so much ground to cover (as it is the one element omitted is the issue of the deplorable attitudes to Remainers in pro-Brexit newspapers). At the very end, Wilkinson does allow himself a touch of humour, but Postcards from the 48% is a properly serious work with adroit decisions as to the time given to individual interviewees some of whom reappear. It gains too from the admirable editing by Michael Bradsell and Jon Walker. Two moments stand out. One is at a debate involving Alastair Campbell who neatly comes up with three questions for the audience whose response confirms just what a mess we are in. The other, again featuring Campbell, is a dictum to the effect that we have to talk sense in order to make people see sense. That phrase sums up perfectly the modus operandi of Wilkinson's film.

 

MANSEL STIMPSON

 

Featuring  A.C. Grayling, Catherine Bearder, Lesley Riddoch, Joan Bakewell, Vince Cable, Alastair Campbell, Nick Clegg, Bob Geldof, Bonnie Greer, Rachel Johnson, Ian McEwan, Miriam Margolyes, Patrick Stewart, Peter Tatchell, Henry Porter, Helena Kennedy, David Nicholas Wilkinson.

 

Dir David Nicholas Wilkinson, Pro David Nicholas Wilkinson, Screenplay David Nicholas Wilkinson and Emlyn Price, Ph Don McVey, Ed Jon Walker and Michael Bradsell, Music Christopher Barnett.

 

572 Remainers & Aziz McMahon/Guerilla Docs-Guerilla Films.
114 mins. UK. 2018. Rel: 6 July 2018. Cert. PG.