Morris A Life With Bells On
Cast: Chas Oldham, Derek Jacobi, Ian Hart, Dominique Pinon
Director: Lucy Akhurst
Morris dancing - it doesn't sound like your average choice for a film.
However, this spoof doco about the perils faced by the world of Morris could
Set in rural England, a documentary team follows the life of Derecq
Actor Chas Oldham is Twist, a young morris dancer whose moves have set the
world of the dance alight and whose thoughts of modernization are causing
ripples within the governing body who oversee all things bells and sticks.
However, Twist is expelled from his local group and cast asunder from the UK
world of Morris dancing by the powers that be.
So Twist heads abroad to follow his fame and worldwide reputation and its
there that he starts to realize that while you can take the man out of morris
dancing, you cant take the morris dancing out of the man.
This mockumentary is quite a gentle film - if you're blessed with a knowledge
of rural parts of England and their quaint ways (thatched cottage roofs and
slightly accented speaking) it may well appeal to you a little more than the
There's a casual charm to the central cast; Twist's wrapped up in his morris
ways but he has a disarming attitude which hooks you in from the start. Derek
Jacobi as Quentin Neely, the head of the morris dancing organisation, is full of
the pompous self importance and priggery you often find on jumped up committees
worldwide. And as for the cameo by Pinon (Delicatessen) as the French sailor who
washed up on the shores and discovered the joys of the Lord of the dance, well,
quelle amusement there.
The humour is sly and wry there is a lot of casual throwaway comments which
will catch you out if you're not paying attention. A lot of the dialogue is very
similar in places to Spinal Tap at one point, one character says they are all
about the 3 Ps - passion, practice and the desire to be best. It's that kind of
subtle humour which reels you in without realizing.
There is actually plenty of serious Morris Dancing (aside from the American
Backstreet boys style number) which shows the cast, while slyly mocking the
subject, clearly has a lot of admiration for how it's done.
Morris A Life With Bells On is an antidote to the bigger Christmas
blockbuster fare - it's got rural rustic charm all over it and will leave you
with a wry grin through out.