VICTORIA RIGBY

To The North

To The North is a feature-length screen adaptation of Elizabeth Bowen's novel of the same name. Following two young women in London of 1928 after the death of the man who links them, Bowen's novel is a portrait of people trying to adjust to change in the fast, relentless decade following the horrors of the Great War. 

The rapid advances in transport in the 1920s are central to the novel and underpin its association of movement with danger - Cecilia first meets the brutal, alluring Markie aboard a train; Emmeline runs a travel-agency; and car, Tube, boat, bus and plane journeys feature heavily in the narrative, eventually bringing about its tragic conclusion.


To The North is a period piece with a modern feel, a vivid portrayal of the London of the Roaring Twenties, and an intimate portrait of two sisters-in-law grieving for the brother and husband they have lost. 

Cambridge protesters gather around an effigy of the 'New Woman' in 1897, which they proceed to burn. Source www.sheilahanlon.com/?p=292

 

Yet, in Bowen, greater freedom in transport was not a simply positive gift; the increase in women travelling alone also attracted heavy criticism of their morals: Cecilia's older, traditional aunt, Lady Waters, muses, 'She goes where she likes: it's neurosis. I'm really anxious about her [...] I really dread these journeys; she picks up the oddest acquaintances', and Emmeline's car allows her to disappear for weekends with Markie, unbeknownst to relatives concerned for her reputation.

Drawing on the rural lyricism of the Merchant Ivory Forster adaptations, the clean lines of Ang Lee, and the delicate psychological tragedy of Henry James, To The North is a period piece with a modern feel, a vivid portrayal of the Roaring Twenties and an intimate portrait of two sisters-in-law grieving for the brother and husband they have lost.