Director: Kim Hopkins

Country: United Kingdom

Year: 2022

Duration: 95 min

Languages: English / subtitled in English

Category: , , , ,

If film clubs (for watching films) are sadly starting to be mostly curiosities of past times, then amateur film-making clubs must be even more endangered rarities. Kim Hopkins’ documentary A Bunch of Amateurs is above all a heartfelt portrayal of the Bradford Movie Makers, one of the last film-making societies in Northern England. It is simultaneously a group portrait of the aging club members and a wistful depiction of a singular kind of cinephilia in the grips of the globally fermenting film industry.

Bradford Movie Makers was founded in 1932 but, much like Finnish filmmaking clubs, had its heyday in the 1960s and 70s. Their glory days far behind them, the old chaps, a couple of ladies lighting fires under their backsides and one fortysomething member meet every Monday. The physical condition of this amateur crew is starting to deteriorate, much like their clubhouse, and the result of their membership drive turns out questionable.

Yet, nothing can stop octogenarian superman Harry from remaking the opening scene of 1950s hit musical Oklahoma! (even though he’s never ridden a horse before), above all as a tribute to his dying wife, Mary: Oklahoma! was the first film they saw together. An endearing representation of ’outsider art.’

Timo Malmi