Edited By Christopher Brown and Pam Hirsch
8 A Dangerous Age: Deep End (1970)
Mitchell S. Cohen commented that the film Deep End, directed by Jerzy Skolimowski, ‘never found its audience, and an unusual, complex motion picture deserving of support and detailed critical attention has for the most part gone unrecognized’.1 Although acclaimed at the Venice Film Festival in 1970, it suffered from inadequate distribution in Britain, never breaking out of the art-house ghetto. Arguably, the film’s mixture of ‘poetry and black farce’ meant that contemporary audiences did not know what to make of it, and it disappeared from view.2 David Thomson was delighted when, in 2011, Deep End was restored by the British Film Institute, describing it as ‘an honourably adolescent film’, by which he meant that the film had captured the raw and obsessive nature of adolescent desire.3 This is indicated from the first moment, with the choice of Cat Stevens’ song, ‘But I Might Die Tonight’, first heard during the title credits and then re-emerging intermittently throughout the film.4 In so far as adolescence is a time of liminality between childhood and adulthood, the swimming pool, too, could be described as a liminal space. To quote D. B. Massey, identities of place ‘are constructed not by placing boundaries around it and defining its identity through counterposition to the other which lies beyond, ← 121 | 122 → but precisely … through the mix of links and interconnections to that “beyond”. Places viewed in this way are open and porous’.5
The film features...
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