England’s Lourdes is a documentary set in and around the seafront at Canvey Island in the Thames Estuary. After shooting ‘Driftwood’ in Canvey I realised that there was enough material there to make a good documentary. Sandwiched between the petrol refineries, the amusement arcades, and the derelict boat yard which greets you as you step off the train – Canvey is a place with its own atmosphere, unlike anywhere else. The faux jollity of the amusements are perched on top of the bleak waterfront. The businesses all have their own characters, who seem to have been there their entire lives. The documentary portrays life on the seafront, along with associated entertainments (amusements, fairgrounds, bingo), on the weekend of the Queen’s diamond jubilee in 2012. The narrative of the piece follows the flow of the day from sunrise to sunset, the flow of the tide, and the flow of the visitors as they come into town. The title, ‘England’s Lourdes’, refers to a famous piece of graffiti painted on the sea wall. The documentary won a prize for best cinematography at the Toamna La Voronet film festival in Romania.
Director – James D. Edge
Cinematography – Christina Ruloff
Sound/Editor – Irene Gomez-Emilsson
Producer – John R. Feifer