Melanie Manchot 

The Hall

The Hall opens by following four walkers as they all make their separate journeys to the same place, at different times of the day and for very different purposes. The camera follows them as they leave the River Tamar behind to pass between greenhouses and narrow hedgerow edged roads until eventually arriving at the Landolph Memorial Hall which in turn hosts battleships, bowls, line dancing and band practise. As each walker opens the door to the hall the viewer enters a space transformed by the activity of the group within: from the gaiety of the line dancers and the quiet concentration of the bowlers and games players, to the thrash and hum of the band. The film reveals the hall as the threshold through which we might reach a different and more complex notion of what community means, as the space holds for a brief hour or two each day a group of people disparate but for their interest in dancing, battle-lines or making music: strangers temporarily brought together by common interests. Working with local groups, the camera then opens the door to pleasure and skill briefly shared, revealing a tempo and intensity which takes the everyday into a different register. This intensity is heightened as the camera catches in slow motion scrutiny the individual actions of players, bringing out the heroic in the bowler as he turns the ball in his hand, or holding the drummer's whirring sticks in a reflective pause. The film echoes the intent of earlier documentary filmmakers such as Humphrey Jennings, in films such as Spare Time (1939), to use the formal capacities of the camera to bring to the surface the overlooked magic of activities often deemed ordinary. The narrative of the film, like Jennings, is not provided by voice over, but by the agency of her moving camera, which in turn frames and reveals the agency of its temporary incumbents, as they bring a private intimacy and pleasure to a shared public space.  (

Neil Rose:

•    Location recording 
•    Additional sound design, Foley work, remixing and mastering


Screened as part of the Tamar project's 'It's all about the river' film festival