VOD film review: A Bunch of Amateurs
Ivan Radford | On 01, Jan 2023
It’s been 90 years since the Bradford Movie Makers first started to meet every week to share their filmmaking efforts. Today, they continue to gather and produce no-budget movies that live up to this documentary’s billing as A Bunch of Amateurs – and, as we quickly learn, that’s exactly the way they like it.
Director Kim Hopkins embeds us in the group with a wonderful level of trust and intimacy, which pays off in dividends as we get to know its ageing members. There’s Harry, who is working hard to recreate Oh What a Beautiful Morning! from Oklahoma!, and retired Colin, who dislikes the modern rubbish and graffiti that take the club’s premises further away from its good old roots. Each of them have their own personal struggles and what the film beautifully captures is not just an undying love of cinema but also the way that foolish artistic dreams can bring people together.
What emerges is a shared sense of – and need for – community and company. As the club weathers the Covid-19 pandemic, and looks for ways to repair and rejuvenate its building, the film paints a celebration of friendship as well as film. One of them tells us that Bradford, without the disruption and impact of the Second World War, could have been the UK’s answer to Hollywood. There’s certainly enough warmth in these 90 odd minutes to rival any blockbuster.
A Bunch of Amateurs is available on BBC iPlayer until December 2023