ring o’ roses

2011

 

Video 4 hours 1 minute 13 seconds
Trailer 2:07 minutes

The digital visual material of this DVD was transferred from a VHS copy of super 8 films taken by the Ury and Unger families between the years 1953 and 1969. The original films went missing, along with the entire Ury and Unger family archives, when the Historical City Archives in Cologne, Germany, collapsed on 3rd of March 2009.Two and a half years on, the Archive authorities informed the Ury family of the recovery of some of their material, including super 8 films.

A narrativeless version of ring o’ roses with music soundtrack selected by Alan Bangs was put together for Tanya Ury’s 60ieth birthday party 1st October 2011, the track being an arbitrary mix, not designed to correspond specifically to image sequences.

 

It is unusual for anyone to have made so many home movies at the time, from the mid 50’s to the early 70’s. This material, collated by the Urys and Ungers in Britain not only documents family and school gatherings but uncommonly also travel in Europe and the Middle East. It is the personal life record of 4 generations of a Jewish survivor family from not long after the Holocaust. ring o’ roses is however, also a social document revealing for instance, footage of lunch in Sa Fonda with Robert Graves and his son Thomas, in Deià, Mallorca 1957; likewise, glimpses of East Berlin, at a historically pregnant point in 1961, are included, with a visit to the composer and family friend Andre Asriel, at his apartment, the Frankfurter Tor, at the top of one of the two Frankfurter Towers.

The video title was suggested by the repeated imagery of children and adults dancing in the round.

The writing on the wall is the writing in the sand, washed away by the tide, dancing through a glass…

 

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Ring a ring o’ roses
A pocketful o’ posies
Atishoo, atishoo
We all fall down

A singing game in which children join hands and dance round in a circle singing.

"The invariable sneezing and falling down in modern English versions have given would-be origin finders the opportunity to say that the rhyme dates back to the Great Plague. A rosy rash, they allege, was a symptom of the plague, posies of herbs were carried as protection and to ward off the smell of the disease. Sneezing or coughing was a final fatal symptom, and 'all fall down' was exactly what happened." Peter and Iona Opie

The line Ashes, Ashes in alternative versions of the rhyme is claimed to refer variously to cremation of the bodies, the burning of victims' houses, or blackening of their skin, and the theory has been adapted to be applied to other versions of the rhyme. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_a_Ring_o'_Roses

Trailer 2:07 minutes