ERIC RAVILIOUS: DRAWN TO WAR REVIEW

ERIC RAVILIOUS: DRAWN TO WAR is a documentary that you might expect to see on PBS. It explores the life of famed and under appreciated artist, Eric Ravilious. Ravilious was an artist alive at a time of great struggle in England. Living against the dramatic backdrop of wartime, he spent his artistic talents on capturing the magic of the English countryside that many were soon to be fighting for. Using his talent for both the absorption of the intricate and splendidly mesmerising, with the crafting of an anti Obfuscation style, Ravilious landed major sensory works. Caught in the maelstrom of war however, his work largely sank without trace and was little heard of by the many. Margy Kinmonth’s has set to right this wrong with a sturdy, if not radical or dynamic documentary about his life and some of his key works. It brings to life his brilliant use of the visual, with colour, perspective and perception. While also allowing voices from Ai Weiwei, Alan Bennett, Grayson Perry, Robert Macfarlane and more, to wax lyrical about the man.

There are problems with this approach. It feels more afternoon PBS or Channel 4 than a bold and bright documentary that will stand tall in the genre and be apart of a wider (and important ) conversation about forgotton artists. There are few points at which you feel that something extracted will set the whole on fire, and maybe this is due to it being made with the blessing of the Ravilious Estate or maybe it is Kinmonth playing safe, but for me, Kinmonth’s most interesting elements of Ravilious life come from her examining the father in Ravilious. His children having much to say about their father and their relationships. Here we find, is mined extremely valuable minerals of truth.

 

 

 

 

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