Title   Cast   Director   Year Shown  Other Info    Country  Notes 

England , 120 min

Shown in 1981


David Gladwell
Michael Medwin, Penny Clark
Kerry Crabbe, David Gladwell
Walter Lassally
Julie Christie, Christopher Guard, Leonie Mellinger, Debbie Hutchings

Memoirs of a Survivor

One of the best new films presented at Cannes was David Gladwell’s Memoirs of a Survivor, based on Doris Lessing’s futuristic story of urban anarchy and disorder in England. The extraordinary sensitivity, poetic vision and overall impression of an original talent was absolutely unforgettable. Gladwell was born in Gloucester, England and became attracted to filmmaking as a child (his father was an avid home movie enthusiast). After college, he worked with the British Film Institute’s “Free Cinema” movement and was encouraged by Lindsay Anderson and Karel Reisz. He later worked as an editor on John Schlesinger’s Terminus, and Anderson’s If... and O Lucky Man! In 1975 Gladwell, sponsored by the BFI, made his first feature, Requiem for a Village, which was highly praised when it was exhibited at the London Film Festival and on BBC television. Memoirs of a Survivor dramatizes the inner struggles of a woman to survive as civilization falls apart, and the challenge of this role attracted Julie Christie out of a three-year absence from the screen. The film is part real, part phantasmagoria, as though a somewhat deranged Lewis Carroll merged beyond the wall, or looking-glass, into clockwork-orange land. The visions of a ravaged London are full of terror and yet, memories and instincts of another time, before “everything stopped,” still thrive in the atmosphere. One should be prepared for a cinema journey full of discovery, because that is what David Gladwell has created, quite vividly, indeed.

—Albert Johnson