The White Review: Brian Dillon introduces Gone to Earth

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Host: The White Review
Location: Cinema 1, Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, London, SW1Y 5AH
Speaker: Brian Dillon

Gone to Earth is based on Mary Webb's melodramatic novel of 1917: the tale of a wild-natured young woman (played by Jennifer Jones) torn between the love of a meek Baptist minister (Cyril Cusack) and the local squire (David Farrar). Several of Powell and Pressburger's better known films — especially A Canterbury Tale and I Know Where I'm Going — are in thrall to a mystical view of British landscape. In Gone to Earth, that magic and Romanticism are weirdly lurid and over-stated; the film imputes an absurd degree of eroticism and energy to the Shropshire countryside where it was shot. It's an oddity, even an embarrassment, among Powell and Pressburger's films – compromised by co-producer David O. Selznick's obsessive relationship with Jones. But at a time when so many British artists and writers — from Tacita Dean to Robert Macfarlane — are revisiting Romantic conceptions of landscape, it's also a fascinating instance of a postwar picturesque.


Please join us at the ICA on Thursday 25 October for a screening of Powell & Pressburger's classic Gone To Earth, chosen by Brian Dillon. A writer, editor and critic, Brian Dillon will introduce the film at 7.30pm and take questions after the screening. Drinks will be served in the ICA bar afterwards. 


Brian Dillon is UK editor of Cabinet and Tutor in Critical Writing at the Royal College of Art. He is the author of Sanctuary (Sternberg Press, 2011), I Am Sitting in a Room (Cabinet, 2011), Tormented Hope: Nine Hypochondriac Lives (Penguin, 2009) and In the Dark Room (Penguin, 2005). Dillon writes regularly for Artforum, Frieze, Art Review, the Guardian, the London Review of Books, and the Wire. A collection of his essays, Culture and Curiosity, will be published by Sternberg Press in 2012. 

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