Penda's Fen + A Warning to the Curious (12A)
Two celebrated television plays explore Britain’s landscape and the enduring relationship with its ancient, pagan – and sometimes terrifying – past in this double bill curated by filmmaker Mark Jenkin. The Malvern Hills loom large in a distinctly mystical curio from Alan Clarke’s filmography, and a cursed burial ground on the Norfolk coast is the setting for a classic Christmas ghost story.
Penda’s Fen (1974) - Director: Alan Clarke
“There has to be an Alan Clarke film in this season. Although it’s a real outlier in terms of his body of work, this was a touchstone when I was developing Enys Men. I’d be lying if I said I fully knew what the film means. But like Robert Bresson’s work, I prioritise feeling over understanding. Besides, even Clarke claimed to not really know what it was about.” – Mark Jenkin
A Warning to the Curious (1972) - Director: Lawrence Gordon Clark
“When I think of the A Ghost Story for Christmas series, I think of Lawrence Gordon Clark more than MR James. But of all the James adaptations, this is my favourite – a highly atmospheric piece of visual storytelling with a chilling climax. I find the simplicity of the filmmaking invigorating. No doubt born of limitation, this is cinema by way of TV.” – Mark Jenkin
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