Proud and determined, astride a beautiful white horse, Lady Godiva rides through the medieval streets to protest against the high taxes her husband, Leofric, Earl of Mercia, has levied ...
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Proud and determined, astride a beautiful white horse, Lady Godiva rides through the medieval streets to protest against the high taxes her husband, Leofric, Earl of Mercia, has levied against the people. Into modern day Oxford where Jemima, an attractive but quirky young school teacher, fierce and independent, sets out to resurrect her dead brother's memory through the Art Factory, the place she has created where kids can forget their troubles and enter the world of their imagination. Where anything is possible. Through a chance encounter, she meets the gorgeous Michael Bartle and is very much taken by his charms until she discovers he is the 'Godiva' man - a notorious play boy who has made his money in the lucrative world of horse breeding and is already involved with the glamorous and famous Veronica. To raise money to keep her precious Art Factory open, Michael convinces her to go on Veronica's TV show to talk about the project and to raise the much needed money to keep it open. ...Written by
Unlike another reviewer I was not lucky enough to win tickets for this movie at the premiere. However I eventually joined an unfortunately small audience locally a few months later to see the film with an introduction from director Vicky Jewson. I'd recently seen 'The Oxford Murders' introduced by John Hurt and whereas the star of the latter film seemed disinterested in the film that was to follow his short and uninspired words Vicky clearly has a passion for film and most importantly this, her feature debut. The film, a human story, was more than suitably imagined by the humanity of its writer/director.
Despite reviews to the contrary the film appeared to be well received. I have never sat in such a quiet cinema and no-one was sleeping! The script worked a fine line between human and emotional drama and historical and darker visions preferring to keep to the former to create a fresh and certainly unique film. Michael (Matthew Chambers) is a little adrift in his acting style but it meets the requirements of his role, a slightly hapless play-boy famous for his horse breeding antics. He loves horses (his favourite called Lady Godiva) more than anything but this is about to change when he meets Jemima (Phoebe Thomas), a kooky art teacher who dreams of continuing to run an art space created by her recently deceased brother. Aside from the beguiling romance there are themes including dealing with grief, bullying and simply taking responsibility leading to happiness. I do have complaints with the films though these are few, namely, with Oxfords' happening music scene it would have been great to have used local bands or even specially written songs to provide the soundtrack. Instead we are given James Morrison's 'Wonderful World' and McFly's 'Don't Stop Me Now' among others - though the latter does mention Lady Godiva in the lyrics. The songs are used as almost advert breaks, a kind of wake up call for those bored with the story and I wonder if the choice is partly down to the financial backers rather than Vicky herself. Either way its not a problem as such, more a pity, and regardless of preference the songs do work and provide - more than a break - a chance to mull over the striking scenes that have just occurred. My only other grievance is that something is slightly wrong with the May Day scene actually filmed not during the famous celebrations but at 4am one morning with extras and secretly from Police who had threatened arrest. I think the problem is because the entrance of our '21st Century Godiva' seems a little like a film set rather than a woman doing a naturally liberating act. Even this is difficult to fault based on the shear fact that May Day morning in Oxford is manic with celebration and revelling on a huge scale and quite how the crowds would react to a naked lady on a horse is unbeknownst. Thus to have pulled off what must have been one take filming of this nature is quite frankly breathtaking and a brilliant close to a really quite brilliant film.
Oxford looks truly beautiful in every scene and the film presents a stunning backdrop of Oxford as more than a university city and does so in vibrant colour and endurance. At times it seems like each cell had been hand painted such was the clear signs of devotion from the writer/director. Critically there is no obvious audience for Lady Godiva. Critics like raw and edgy films, a bout of sudden torture, a taboo breaking sex scene set to the music of Michael Nyman. Critics don't like human stories unless they feature someone impaired mentally or psychically. Here perhaps it is emotionally impaired characters but they are fascinating human examples and its' a true shame that the pompous air of critical theory is so strong. From an established filmmaker 'Lady Godiva' would be rich, scrumptious and very daring. From a newbie? It is honestly overwhelming and truly recommended.
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