I'ts Cold In 'em Hills: The Germans Are Coming To Cheltenham:: Pics

"When the going gets tough;
The tough get going"
So it was  that,  Family C.stood waiting for the bus in a bitter, cold wind.

The bus came and duly reached our destination Cheltenham centre. The cold was waiting for us. We huddled together and walked at a pace to gain some warmth. We made a stop for sandwiches and then  after a short while gratefully made it through the cinema's entrance. Once our tickets were delivered from the machine, we purchased cups of hot tea and made our way to Screen 4.
For us life was heating up, but for those in our film, the deep cold was continuing.

We were at a performance of " The Revenant, " starring Leonardo DiCaprio as  Hugh Glass, a Mountain Man and fur trapper in the American wilderness in the 1820s. It is the story of the human  experience; the constant struggle for survival against an unforgiving environment. In the case of Glass; left for dead after bear attack, he struggled, limped, and even crawled 200 miles to Fort Kiowa in South Dakota.

A slightly different version of this story was made in 1971 starring Richard Harris as Zachary Bass ( Glass renamed) and John Huston as Captain Henry.

Here is the trailer:

Man in Wilderness

What made  The Revenant  special for me was the sensitivity of the production. It positively demands watching on the big screen, in order to achieve the best aural and visual experience.

Once the names of the commissioning agents leaves the screen, you are cast straight into the action. There are no titles or character names. indeed I believe the title of the film is never  displayed at any time in the film. It is a visceral  film that puts you among the forests; the flowing streams; the trappers and the Native Americans. So many films these days, drown the action by loud, unappealing sounds, but in this production the natural sounds are brought to the fore; the gushing streams bookend the film, with life flowing in and life flowing out.

The guns echo nosily through the trees, counterpointed by the almost soundless whistling arrows. You will hear, at the margins animal sounds and the rustle of the undergrowth. Where tension needs to be built up , the musical soundtrack, under the direction of Ryuichi Sakamoto, skilfully uses strings to build minor crescendos ; but relies mainly on multi-drummers , whose rolls 'move ' across the screen. At no time does this distract from the visual action. Impressed . Yes I was.

The camera work more than complements the sound. It was shot only using natural light, so there are no enhancements at any stage; you see what the cast perceives. It is shot with a wide lens, by expert Mexican cameraman Emmanuel Lubezki ( surely a shoo-in for an Oscar ). This allows the viewer to fully comprehend the bleak, demanding landscape, whilst in a further moment zoom in to a revealing close-up of a character.

Leonardo DiCaprio gives the role of Hugh Glass, the gravitas it demands. Director  Alejandro G. Inarritu (also Mexican) makes no concessions  to the well-being of his actors and crew. Shot in the wilds of the Canadian frontier territory and later in Argentina ( when the Canadian snow failed) , in often ultra-cold freezing conditions; DiCaprio swims in sub-zero waters and eats raw bison liver, in a catalogue of scenes of increasing  deprivation.

This is a film that really delivers the goods with hardly any negative values; except; if one must carp the running time of 156 minutes possibly 15 minutes too long and supporting lead actor Tom Hardy( Fitzgerald) tended to mumble some of his lines.

But having said that, it still represents a solid  5*****

 To conclude here from the Telegraph  more info and a trailer from the film:

A Glassy view

One thing I can promise, when you emerge after two hours in the cinema, you will feel  warmer outside !


In  a prime position being close to the M5 motorway and next to the A40 GoldenValley ( Cheltenham to Gloucester Bypass) ,  a large site is being cleared.

When it is finished in a year's time it will house the flagship BMW and Mini dealership. Reputed to be the biggest in the UK.

It will cost the Munich based ( since 1916) German  car firm fifteen million pounds and although it is testimony to the prosperity of the area, it will only yield an extra twenty jobs.

It will be a four storey structure when  it is completed,  and so will cast a long shadow over the area.

It was interesting, taking these pictures today, ( 23/ 01 ) at still an early stage in the development there was plenty of security upon the premises to be seen.

Further photos in the future .


That about rounds it up for the week.
I leave you with this picture of Cheltenham Racecourse, taken last December, looking in prime condition.
I hope (DV) to be at the Festival Trials Day next Saturday 30th January.
C'mon M'son!
Cheerio for now,


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