Penda's Fen

donderdag, 19 augustus

Penda's Fen

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PENDA'S FEN  1974 * Directed by Alan Clarke * 90 minutes * In English

This movie blasted into the household television sets of 70s England, instantly becoming iconic in the eyes of many. Here was a film that conjured up the ghosts of England's past - focusing on the young son of a village pastor who encounters angels, demons and pagan belief systems in the Malvern Hills of Worcestershire. This has been called a "pastoral horror" movie, and it is certainly tapping into the country's timeless pre-Christian landscape, creating a vision of an alternative England contrary to the one that was normally being sold to the public in the mass media.

Directed by the legendary filmmaker Alan Clarke, whose movies were mostly hard-edged toughies like Scum (banned by the BBC) and Made in Britain, known for their gritty urban realism... this one instead ventures in a totally different direction: it's a leap into mystery and the subversively poetic. The difference can perhaps be explained by the fact that Penda's Fen was penned by the visionary scriptwriter David Rudkin. But don't expect any romantic exoticism, nor any expensive spectacular special effects in the style of Lord of the Rings - instead, this film is shot with Clarke's down-to-earth "documentary veracity" approach. In fact it has something radically un-Hollywoodish about it. A stark, unusual work, thematically riding off the crest of off-beat movies like The Wicker Man, where dreams and visions are fused with England's anti-authoritarian past.

As one critic noted: "The Malvern countryside becomes a psychic battleground in which the agents of a pure Christianity compete with the nation’s buried pagan ancestry for Stephen’s soul which we can read as representing the future of Britain." A real 'Wyrd England' cult flick that has been almost impossible to see for ages, and the kind of film that is utterly unthinkable today.

Penda’s Fen was identified by cultural critic Mark Fischer as a 'touchstone' for his Haunted Generation. In 2011, Penda's Fen was chosen by Time Out London magazine as one of the 100 best British films of all time.

This will be a high-definition screening.

Doors open at 20:30 * film starts 21:00 * Visitors limited to 16

Datum & tijd: 

donderdag, 19 augustus, 2021 - 21:00


  • film


  • 3-5 €
- 3 €
Filmhuis Cavia
Van Hallstraat 52-1
1051 HH Amsterdam


Go through the gate. Cavia is on the right hand side, above Xena Sports. Take the stairs.


Former squat, now legalised

Filmhuis Cavia is a counterculture cinema, founded in 1983 by a squatters movement, which programs films you aren't likely to see anywhere else.


  • film

opening times: 

Our regular screenings are on Tuesdays (programmed by Jeffrey), Thursdays and Fridays, but we also have extra screenings and film festivals throughout the year. Look us up to find our monthly program.

Doors always open half an hour before the film starts.

Weekly programme of film screenings in a circuit of underground / self-organised venues. Forgotten movies that should have been classics, neglected flics, lesser-known gems, always with a personal introduction by the programmer. All films in English, or with English subtitles.


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opening times: 

mostly Sunday to Thursday at about 7 different underground locations.