Writing in the Sand DVD
Constructed almost entirely from Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen’s black and white photographs, the film evokes the magic of an urban family’s day out on the windswept beaches of North East England. It is packed with action, invention and surprise: bodiless heads sticking out of the sand; teenagers jumping in the sea fully clothed; family picnicking under a blanket. Memory and fantasy intermingle with expressions on intoxicating freedom and quizzical encounters with nature.
When a forewarning is ignored, a sunny daydream turns unexpectedly into a nightmare.
The sea breaks into an awesome display of fury and pain, and a strange metamorphosis takes place on the shore.
Whilst celebrating the child in each of us, the film is a timely and powerful reminder of our interdependence with the natural world.
Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen began to photograph on the North Eastern coast on her arrival in Newcastle in the late 1960’s. Initially attracted to the extraordinary abandon with which the Northern people take to the freedom offered by their beaches, she later focused on the natural elements and transformations of the beaches as live drama in their own right. The resulting book Writing in the Sand,to be published in May, is a culmination of twenty five years of inspired photography.
1991 Running time: 43 mins
French subtitle option
An AMBER Production featuring: The people and beaches of the North East of England.
Archive interview with Sirkka Liisa Konttinen and Peter Roberts of Amber, on the making of the film.
Slide show of selected photographs from The Writing in the Sand
The film is an elegy as well as a celebration. Poetic, uproarious and thunderously nostalgic, The Writing in the Sand bears the stamp of an instant British classic. The Times
Superb and at times comical, ‘The Writing in the Sand’ by Amber Films is a marvelous piece of editing from photographs… a magnificent work. Marc Joyeux, Le Soir
Authorship Award Northern Electric Arts Award, 1991
Le Prix du Documentaire “Cinéma du Réel”, Paris, 1992
Grand Prix City of Melbourne Award, 1992