Cinema surveillance images are loading at the bottom of the page

Wondrous oblivion - Sam Smith, Delroy Lindo, Emily Woof, Paul Morrisson

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

Eleven-year-old David Wiseman (Sam Smith) is mad about cricket but no good at it. He might have the crisp, white uniform, the complete collection of cricket cards and the longing to be Garfield Sobers but David's the laughing stock of the school team. So, when a Jamaican family moves in next door and builds a cricket net in the backyard, David is in seventh heaven. But this is 1960s England and when the neighbours start to make life difficult for the new arrivals, David and his family must choose between fitting in or standing up for those who have given them a renewed sense of living.

Theatrical propaganda posters

Wondrous oblivion image

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film UK England racism cricket school boy Jamaica sixties 60s neighbour

Persons of interest

  • Sam Smith .... David
  • Delroy Lindo .... Dennis
  • Emily Woof .... Ruth
  • Stanley Townsend .... Victor
  • Angela Wynter .... Grace
  • Leonie Elliott .... Judy
  • Bruce Cook .... Wicket Keeper
  • Hugh Mitchell .... Hargreaves
  • Yasmin Paige .... Lilian
  • Paul Morrisson .... Screenwriter
  • Paul Morrisson .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Wondrous oblivion is all about cricket, racism and blossoming sexuality. In that order. It's the kind of film that only the British could make despite the fact that most of the characters aren't even British. By golly that game's a jolly good wheeze.

Watch it if you like cricket, racism and/or blossoming sexuality.

Security censorship classification

PG (Mature themes, low level coarse language)

Surveillance time

101 minutes (1:41 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 20 May 2004
DVD rental: 16 March 2005
VHS rental: 16 March 2005
Disc: 7 July 2010

Cinema surveillance images

Wondrous oblivion image
Wondrous oblivion imageWondrous oblivion imageWondrous oblivion imageWondrous oblivion imageWondrous oblivion imageWondrous oblivion imageWondrous oblivion imageWondrous oblivion image

[ Return to top ]

Director's statement
This is a funny, warm, sharp and accessible coming-of-age film, in the spirit of Billy Elliot and East is east. Despite the specificity of its time and place, it's a universal story, with universal values of acceptance and tolerance, an affirmation of the richness of heterogeneous identities. It's set at a historic moment poised between the conservative and Cold-War 60s and the cultural and sexual revolution of the 60s, when Britain experienced large-scale immigration from the Caribbean, and began to be a multi-racial society. Visually and musically the film reflects this transition, starting with calypso and a 50s pop, moving on to ska and rocksteady. A beginning that reflects David's dreaminess, somewhat drab and sad, costumes and hair more 50s - David cheerful and wondrously oblivious "in spite of" rather than because of his surroundings and circumstances - starts to burst with vibrancy, colour and movement after the West Indians appear. And this excitement continues to build with the rising action up towards the birthday party.

In the falling action, as David's new-built world crumbles, and the forces of denial and conservatism re-assert themselves, that 50s outsider look reminiscent of all those films about social class of the late 50s and early 60s starts to re-assert itself. And then, Bam!, the world turns again and in the resolution we are back to the gaiety and musical vibrancy, and looser hairstyles and clothing of the sixties.

All the major characters in the film have a journey to make. I've tried to keep those journeys plausible and truthful. When I am directing I look to be ruthless with the writer in me. The story takes over and imposes its own demands, in working with the actors and again in the editing. All of us are servicing the story in the end. At one level the film is my vision and at another it's way beyond my conscious self, something else entirely, that imposes its own will. For all the containedness of the locations, it's a visual, action-oriented screenplay, and I have striven for visual bite and a defined look.

Around the cricket, the film has a slightly magical, luminescent quality, the bright whites flowing into the rest of the surroundings, and picked up elsewhere. We've chosen to shoot much of the film in a studio (Shepparton) to have control over the lighting and to maintain a slightly super-real quality. It's not a kitchen sink movie. There's magic in it and a boy's fantasies, and we've tried to make a magical and beautiful film, softening the contrasts here and there, looking for brightness and colour.

I like to spend a lot of time talking with the design team before we start to shoot. Nina and Eve and I have been careful with colours, choosing a swatch that is true to the period and also reflects the moods of the two families. We've chosen to digitally grade to give us greater control of the colour look of the film, and to maximise the quality of the widescreen Super-35. For all that this is a movie set in 1960 Britain, it also has its heroic and epic moments. The widescreen lifts it into this bigger canvas. For a relatively low-budget yet period movie we've tried to give the film a sense of scale in whatever way we could.

Paul Morrison, March 2003

[ Back ]