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WISH YOU WERE HERE

UK, 1987 (MIFF 1988)

Director: David Leland

Shot on the southern coast of England, David Leland's drama, Wish You Were Here is about a teenage girl of the 1950s unfashionably fascinated by sex. Played by newcomer Emily Lloyd, the character of Lynda is a strong-willed non conformist, the despair of her widowed father, whose boredom and frustration make her a social outcast in her stultifying seaside town.

The title, Wish You Were Here, is of course ironic, says Leland "It's about a girl who wishes she were just anywhere else, who imagines that all the life, all the excitement happens in another place She's bursting to do something, but sees nothing around her but people in wheelchairs and old men and women taking dogs for a walk"

It was a feeling also shared by Cynthia Payne, the Streatham brothel keeper on whom Leland's script for Personal Services was loosely modelled. When researching that film, Leland was shown Payne's vast collection of snapshots, man) showing her as a girl at the seaside.

Despite reports to the contrarary, Leland is eager to point out that the connection between Paul and his fictional Linda is "coincidence, there is no connection", in what is maybe an attempt to prevent a recurrence of Personal Services? reliance on heavy disclaimers Leland says the photographs served merely to bring his own seaside memories flooding back to him, and encouraged him to write the script on spec.

"Wish You Were Here has a satirical yet dreamlike texture and an elusive grace This is the first feature film Leland has directed, but it has some of the boardwalk atmosphere of ,Mona Lisa, which he co-wrote, and it's related to his script for Personal Services Cynthia Paine, who was the inspiration for the madam in that movie, inspired this one, too As Linda, dimply,curly lipped Emily Lloyd, who turned sixteen on the first day of shooting, has something of the fluffy pertness of a newly hatched chick. She embodies everything that Leland is trying to say about the spontaneity, the honest), and the happy, rude extroversion that kids have pressured out of them. She makes Linda's tactlessness seem a comic expression of truthtelling It's an entrancing performance..." - Pauline Kael,'The New Yorker'

We hope to welcome David Leland to the Festival to introduce his film, although at press time his visit was act to be confirmed.

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