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Cinema Saltdean screening 'Ravilious – Drawn to War’ documentary + pre-show talk

Part 2 of Cinema Saltdean's season ‘Dual Delights on November Tuesday 28th November, 7.30pm organised by the BFI & Fabrica, Brighton features a special screening of 'Ravilious – Drawn to War’ (PG) a documentary film about the Sussex artist with a pre-show talk by an expert from the Towner Galley, Eastbourne, where you can see a permanent exhibition of Eric Ravilious work.

'Eric Ravilious: Drawn to War’ is the first major film made about the artist. This film shares links with last month’s ‘One of Our Aircraft is Missing’. War was a major inspiration for Eric Ravilious.

We welcome Sara Cooper, Head of Collections and Exhibitions, from Towner, Eastbourne, an expert on Eric Ravilious, who will deliver a talk about the artist, as a primer to our film.

If you haven’t heard of Ravilious, you can be forgiven; his pictures were lost for forty years. They were discovered by his children (under a bed). Ravilious has since enjoyed a renaissance. Trained in Eastbourne, there is a permanent exhibition of his work at the Towner, Eastbourne, which I can recommend.

Ravilious is now considered to be a major British landscape painter, ranking alongside John Constable and J.M.W Turner.

His paintings are quintessentially English, most of them created at a time of upheaval and historical change; his style elevating his subjects to something special.

In this dramatised documentary, we begin to understand how the unlikely subject of war brought about aesthetically stunning images, that are not only draughtsman-like in their precision but illustrative of a very British way of life: it’s unlikely to think that he could have been born anywhere else.

Amongst the paintings that have made him an important artist are many that are local to us; look out for his excellent landscape of the Long Man at Wilmington.

Inspiration however not only came from local scenes. During the second World War Ravilious served as a British Official War Artist. His fascination with, and passion for, foreign countries fuelled inspiration during his service, being posted to several countries. During his tours he created often quirky, always striking images, largely from unlikely subjects: a ship on fire, an aircraft in combat, and, less surprisingly, the stark landscapes of Iceland. Ravilious, a hugely underestimated artist was killed in a plane crash over Iceland in 1942, aged 39.

The film is quoted as asking us “what Ravilious‘s life and art tells us about the elusive concept of Englishness, and what it means to be a war artist."

Whether you are already a convert to the draftsman-like attention to detail in the paintings or if you know him only from seeing his name on the front of a Brighton and Hove bus, this will be a fascinating, rewarding, and absorbing film for everyone, a gem.

The story is told in Ravilious's own words using a wealth of material drawn from a treasure trove of private correspondence and previously unseen archive. The film features the voices of Freddie Fox, (‘The Three Musketeers’ 2011) Tamsin Greig, (‘Liar’ and ‘Green Wing’) Jeremy Irons (‘Dead Ringers’ ‘War Horse’ ) and Harriet Walter. (‘Mystic’ ‘Sense and Sensibility’ 1995)

Tickets on the door (cash only) or online at:


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