(1983, GB, 82 min) Dir Adrian Fisher. Cast Jim Patrick, Alison Patrick, Tony Cousins.
Another slice of magic realist life from the long lost Adrian Fisher, director of Creepy Crawlies and By the Light of the Blood Moon. If Terry Gilliam and Ken Loach got together they would come close to Fisher’s films. Jim and Alison – a real life brother and sister aged eleven and nine respectively – play brother and sister Jim and Alison. The two of them apparently live inside the bonfire that sits on the green of a Liverpool housing estate with their friend, the Guy (voiced by Cousins). The Guy is a kind of a father figure to the children, telling them stories at night about when he was a merchant seaman, the places he went and the things he saw – all of which is animated like a magic lantern show, or like the cut-out figure films of Lotte Reiniger. Every day the kids tour the depressed streets with their Guy in a wheelbarrow, petitioning for coins. Of course the finale of the film is Bonfire Night and of course their house is burned with the Guy atop it but this isn’t a tragedy, it’s portrayed more like this is the natural end for all of this and indeed the final scenes of the film show Jim piling what wood he can find on the blackened ground of the fire, his sister putting some old clothes into their wheelbarrow for the new Guy. An odd film for sure with great, naturalistic performances from the children.