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Film Review: Redt'Blue

18 September 20 words: George White

George White checks out Redt'Blue, an insightful new documentary from Nottingham-based filmmaker Jay Martin... 

Director: Jay Martin
Starring: Mick Newton, Cathryn Fletcher, Lee Anderson
Running time: 23 minutes

Redt’Blue is a striking new documentary from local filmmaker Jay Martin, and investigates just why voters in Mansfield decided to elect Conservative MP Ben Bradley after almost a century of Labour support. 

Considering this is, as the film’s tagline explains, a story that is 94 years in the making, Martin does a fantastic job of providing an insightful, thought-provoking study of a complex topic - with its streamlined 23-minute runtime engaging the viewer from start-to-finish. 

By opting against the use of a narrator, Redt’Blue manages to avoid any potential over-dramatisation, ensuring its focus remains solely on what really matters - the people of Mansfield. Martin chooses an interesting range of interviewees, bringing together a full spectrum of different political viewpoints and lived experiences to allow the audience to make decisions and judgements for themselves.

Notts filmmaker Jay Martin tells a layered and complex story in an accessible, engaging way

These interviews are pieced together in a satisfying and often fascinating way, with contrasting opinions intertwined to create the feeling of a live debate on screen. Through encouraging candid and honest responses from everyone involved, Martin helps to provide a voice for a community that feels left behind, using the tales of real people to effectively demonstrate how successive governments have paid little care to these once thriving working class towns. 

This community’s story is told using some gorgeous camerawork, with the film packed full of powerful imagery from the Mansfield area - with a focus on the colossal skeleton of the Clipstone Colliery headstock providing a chilling nostalgia of an era gone by. Martin and his editor, Richard Lozberg, combine original and archive footage to full effect, engulfing the audience in the rich mining history of the town through some inventive editing and impactful footage choices. 

Redt’Blue isn’t perfect - certain cuts could definitely have been slightly smoother - but it is undoubtedly a compelling and intelligent study of a town, and an industry, that feels almost forgotten by those in power. 

Notts filmmaker Jay Martin tells a layered and complex story in an accessible, engaging way, combining interesting interviews and striking visuals to deliver an important message about our local Mansfield.

Read our interview with director Jay Martin 

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