Grandfather's Footsteps

by Rees-Mogg, Anne

Film: 16mm 1983

Arts Council of England/Great Britain

My Mother found an old cigar box full of glass negatives, stereoscopic views, mostly of the Somerset countryside taken by my great grandfather Henry Stiles Savory, who was a country clergyman. Later some more boxes of his negatives turned up at a country house sale. I printed them and made enlargements from some of them, and a few years later the idea came to me to use them in a film. The film took me a long time to make, at first it was going to be an exploration of the similarities and differences in a landscape and the people in it between 1950 and 1982. Anthony Bruegger re-enacted great grandfather with his camera one hot day in 1981. I kept finding out more things about him and his inventions. Anthony reads from his writings. Anthony drives a lorry into the twentieth century. Finally the film becomes a debate about the roles that people assume for themselves, and perhaps hints at those they are forced to accept. - A. R-M. 'And then, while i have a little space, about your film, like i said i like it, which i think has to do with that i think your, well shall we say quirky style, to me, fits your subject the best of anything of yours i've seen - and now i'd like to see it printed as i thought proper on a good high contrast B&W stock, and with the missing sound(s) too.' - John Jost. 'In Grandfather's Footsteps the film-maker re-evokes the presence of her great-grandfather, Henry Stiles Savory, A Victorian clergyman, photographer and scientist. It's not a costume drama, bringing in his writings, and his personal effects - books, machines, photographs - Anne Rees - Mogg emphasizes her own links with him and his preoccupations. She achieves a real sense of timelessness.' - Jo Comino


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