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The Ragged School Blog Deptford

Monday, July 23, 2007

Aragon - The Tower

In order to focus my critique of 'The Tower' on BBC1, I am writing this without first reading the specific comments people are making in the local press and forums. The series on the conversion of Aragon Tower into 'The Z Building/Apartments' is a grand piece of cinematic provocation. By selectively following the very contrasting circumstances of families on the Pepys Estate the documentary creates a chiaroscuro with very few developed grey tonalities. If the intention was only to compare different ways of life then so be it, but the best productions in this genre create tension through more complex ambiguities. The sheer sterility depicted of the 'new residents' who are afraid of 'the real locals' is tangible like cold stainless steel. The action is not contained uniquely inside the Pepys Estate but spill out onto John Evelyn pub, whose storyline is the most ideologically unselfconscious, nostalgic and heart tinkering. Given the fact that the film as social document is not delineated by the estate boundary, why wasnt footage taken from other proximities which would reveal the rainbow hues across this complex and historically important village. I believe the editing of this series should have taken greater account to incorporate the range of economic and social activity which shows that Deptford has always been a bellwether area. I believe that Deptford needs to take back control of its own image and I appeal to readers to continue to blog about this complex and fascinating confluence. The Deptford.tv project was an extraordinary intervention in this sense and perhaps one day for this reason we will no longer need the trickery of big budget TV. To the series producers I say chutzpah is your forte but not a successful parachute for the death of old media. We all have our own cameras now and were ready to shoot.