Robin Robertson

Robin Robertson

Film Noir and the City: The Long Take

Festival of the Future City/
Thu 28 November 2019

Robin Robertson

Film Noir and the City: The Long Take

Robin Robertson
Thu 28 November 2019,

Robin Robertson’s The Long Take is a noir narrative written with the intensity and power of poetry. One of the most remarkable books of recent years, it was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and was winner of the Goldsmiths Prize, The Roehampton Poetry Prize and the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.

In The Long Take, Walker is a D-Day veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder; he can’t return home to rural Nova Scotia, and looks instead to the city for freedom, anonymity and repair. As he moves from New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco we witness a crucial period of fracture in American history, one that also allowed noir to flourish. The Dream had gone sour but – as those dark, classic movies made clear – the country needed outsiders to study and dramatise its new anxieties.

While Walker tries to piece his life together, America is beginning to come apart: deeply paranoid, doubting its own certainties, riven by social and racial division, spiralling corruption and the collapse of the inner cities. The Long Take is about a good man, brutalised by war, haunted by violence and apparently doomed to return to it – yet resolved to find kindness again, in the world and in himself. It has many lessons for today.

Robertson talks about and reads from his work, and interweaves discussion of classic noir films.

This event is part of Festival of the Future City – an initiative of Festival of Ideas. Festival of the Future City takes place every two years in Bristol celebrating and debating the future of cities with talks, walks, debates, arts projects and new books.

The 2019 Festival of the Future City includes a film noir programme; classic utopian films about cities; cities in silent cinema; documentaries on New Towns, democracy, the housing crisis and the anthropocene in the series: Cities, Future Cities and Film. We are grateful to BFI for their support for this programme. See the complete film programme here.

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Image credit: Chris Close

 

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