‘The Small Back Room’

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Organised by:

West Midlands Institute of Psychotherapy

03 December 2023

Time: 13:00 - 15:30

Price: £10.50 - £13.50


‘The Small Back Room’: An opportunity to watch, reflect and discuss the film from a psychological perspective

The Analytic Film Group of the West Midlands Institute of Psychotherapy is proud to present a further collaboration Flatpack Festival.

We invite you to come and join us for this event at the Midlands Art Centre on Sunday 3rd December at 1pm. We will watch the film The Small Back Room together and then a panel from WMIP will begin a discussion and invite the audience to join in to explore the film together from a psychological perspective.

In this 1949 Powell and Pressburger film based on Nigel Balchin’s novel of the same name, high contrast photography pervades much of the film capturing the mood of wartime England as scientists in the ‘back room’ seek to make sense of and disarm the bombs that are landing and arm the men going to the front.

Sammy Rice is a British scientist working as a bomb disposal expert in one such back room. He rails against the incompetency and bureaucracy inhibiting his military scientific research against the backdrop of war. He physically struggles and is near constant pain because of an artificial foot. To manage the pain and also to anesthetise himself against awareness of his limited power and ever-increasing bitterness, Sammy turns to alcohol. His spiralling self destruction threatens to destroy his relationship until he is called on for a mission that might restore his sense of purpose.

Powell and Pressburger create a film which follows a complex protagonist in a world of high pressure and determined stiff upper lips. It throws light on the impact of trauma in a time when all are traumatised by war and death is ever present.

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