Available to watch online for free this week as part of BFI Flare, Susan Omand finds her heart soars with the short film Wings...
“I’ve waited for a very long time for this.”
Oh, what an utterly gorgeous little film! With very little dialogue, this is a story of girl meets girl then girl meets girl again.
It starts in the 1930s when young bride Audrey (Carla Fraser, who co-wrote the screenplay with director Jamie Weston) and her husband Robert (Bobby Lockwood) open the door to their new home. Their life together is told in montage snippets as gentle music plays – Audrey cooking, keeping house and bringing up their baby, Robert working, playing cricket, being a good father, family Christmases etc – until the coming of the war means Robert is called up for National Service and leaves. Determined to do her bit too, Audrey joins the Land Army and, while working on a farm, she meets Dora (Rosie Day) and their friendship blossoms. Another montage as they become closer, Dora comes to the house and meets Audrey’s child, they all play board games and Audrey and Dora dance together, they comfort each other when the air-raid siren wails, there’s a gift of a necklace for Dora and a kiss under the mistletoe at Christmas… their love is idyllic. Then married life suddenly kicks back in for Audrey as Robert comes home from the war and Dora must become a distant memory. The music stops and the film fades to black.
Up to this point, nearly ten minutes in, there has been no dialogue at all, with the vignettes of their lives playing out with only the beautiful score by Jon Mills to accompany them. As the film fades up again, we meet Dora as an old lady (elegantly and emotionally played now by the legendary Virginia McKenna), being taken by her own family to live at an old folks home. There’s lively discussion at the reception desk as forms are signed and a slightly tearful Dora is led by one of the home’s staff into the communal sitting room for a cup of tea. She is helped into a seat beside another elderly lady ( played by the bright and bubbly bastion that is Miriam Margolyes) who turns towards her and toasts Dora with her own cup of tea before pausing… and recognising the necklace that she, Audrey, gave to her love all those years ago.
Well, I burst into tears at this point. The rest of the film plays out just as you hope it will, again in vignette style and again with little dialogue, mostly music, but this time they are in their 80s and not their 20s as their deeply connected love is rekindled through fun times and intimate moments and, thanks to a news report that they see on TV, their relationship gets the ending it rightly deserves. It was just glorious! Add to this the wonderful original footage from the Imperial War Museum of Land Army girls at work that plays under the end credits and you have a perfectly scripted, perfectly acted, absolute must-see story of how it’s never too late to be with the one you love.
Image - BFI Flare