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THE CICERONES - FEBRUARY, 2003

By Lee

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REVIEW OF THE SHORT FILM

The League of Gentlemen take on the big screen with this adaptation of a Robert Aickman short story about a British traveller getting more than he bargains for when trying to track down a famous religious painting in a cathedral in Romania.

The script is by Jeremy Dyson adapted from Robert Aickman's Cicerones. [In “A Few Small Notes Upon Sub Rosa”, R. Aickman mentioned that “The Cicerones” was (more or less) based on a real experience. It happened in the cathedral at Antwerp, but Aickman used the cathedral in Ghent as the setting for the story] also starring Mark Gatiss from the League of Gentlemen.

It is impressively shot by Dyson, making fine use of lighting and employing some interesting angles, with a simple story; an Englishman abroad (Gatiss) visits a cathedral in search of a piece of religious art. He enters the Cathedral when it is closed for lunch and is plagued by a series of surreal figures that guide him around the Cathedral. The tourist begins to fear the unearthly nature of his guides, until they corral him in one of the rooms. The film simply ends with the audience expecting a nasty end and the Bishop telling him he shouldn’t be there.

A well-known ghost story, fairly spooky, but no real pay off. More of an anticlimax. Maybe because the series was so clever and dark, we expected more of the same.

 

 

 

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