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Chiltern Film Society - July 2020

Film Plots Concerning Allotments

Before moving to this area, I used to live in east London and I had an allotment. One day, there was a young bloke, holding a clipboard and camera. Someone from the council? No. It turned out to be a location scout for a film company. Mike Leigh was filming down the road and needed an allotment plot. In the blink of an eye there were actors and crew everywhere! “Is it alright if I cut this sweetcorn down a bit?” NO! “What’s that?” It’s a potato...

The film was Another Year (2010) - Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen were soon digging away and hiding from the artificial rain. My plot was chosen because of the aspect - it had a gentle gradient, with an apple tree at the top, which obviously affected the design of the poster.

In the film, my plot is quickly shown in each season, moving the characters’ year along. A clever device to show the changing of time. But, this made me question whether allotments have appeared in any other films. Hmm.

Only Grow Your Own (2007) comes to mind. It was a British film, starring Pierce Quigley, Olivia Colman and Eddie Marsen and shows the tension on the allotments when some refugees are given plots to tend. Sounds serious (and the issues are), but it is meant to be a comedy.

I suppose allotments are a very British thing, but we should see more actors digging....

Whatever you do this month, stay safe, look out for people with clipboards and enjoy your films!

Paul Vates – CFS Chairman.

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