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DVD: The Molly Dineen Collection Volume One | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: The Molly Dineen Collection Volume One

DVD: The Molly Dineen Collection Volume One

Now you see her: a welcome retrospective box set for the documentary filmmaker

Volume One of Molly Dineen: They don't make documentaries like this any more

Molly Dineen would go on to make films about Tony Blair and Geri Halliwell, but her career began among cut-glass colonials of the (very) old school. Home from the Hill and My African Farm, two films for 40 Minutes in the late 1980s, portrayed a crusty pair of Brits in stately Kenyan retirement.

One, a charming old cavalry officer who had spent his life in the colonies, decided to return to a Blighty he barely knew. The other, a childless widowed battleaxe, sold her farm but dug her feet in. Viewed together, they made for a double portrait of a dying species: the lesser-spotted casually racist product of Empire.

The BFI’s new three-part box set of Dineen’s collected works feels like an elegy to something else that is all but extinct: the observational television documentary. Volume Two will be devoted to The Ark, her series about London zoo and its beleaguered keepers, while here in the three-part series In the Company of Men her lens is trained on another vanishing world, the dwindling British Army in Northern Ireland as it faces up to regimental strimming.

As well as her sixth sense for the evanescent, Dineen has a powerful nose for character, never more than in the glum-faced wage slaves who work on the London Underground in her justly celebrated Heart of the Angel. These films are well worth watching and, in the absence of any other well-made TV documentaries in the brave new multi-channel universe, watching again. There is a longer director's cut of Home from the Hill, giving you all the excuse you need to spend extra time in the delicious company of old colonial wag Hillary Hook. Dineen’s commentaries on the craft of piecing together artful narratives from the real mud of reality are suave and involving. Although the elegant and persuasive figure in these extras is hardly long in the tooth, Dineen deserves this retrospective. They don't make them like this any more. But they didn't make many of them then either. Come back please, asap.


Ive got volume one of the MD collection. Where can i get ,The Pick ,The Shovel & The Open Road, I had it on Video & lost it,

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