Shed Your Tears and Walk Away
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A real-life drama about why, in the beautiful and quirky rural town of Hebden Bridge, filmmaker Jez Lewis' childhood friends are killing themselves. Beginning with a personal quest for understanding, the film moves into a year-long drama of human tragedy and redemption as principal character Cass comes to terms with his own mortality and attempts to lift himself out of his cycle of self-destruction. This core narrative carves an upward arc through an intimate study of a place often described as paradise, but which harbours an undertow of lethal hedonism and disillusionment. As people continue to kill themselves during the making of the film, a maelstrom of conflicting values throws up unexpected truths about the human condition.
A must-see documentary
Shed Your Tears and Walk Away is a funny, moving and sometimes bleak documentary about the fashionable northern town of Hebden Bridge - described by one of the participants as '... a drug town with a tourist problem ...'.
Jez Lewis portrays his former classmates with compassion and humanity, allowing them to speak for themselves in describing the problems that have had to cope with, or have brought upon themselves.
He also depicts the other subject of his film - the town itself - with the same openness and honesty. In doing so he challenges the orthodox view of it as a trendy, open and accepting bohemian enclave.
There is however no polemic. As death after early death occurs; from addiction, suicide or accident - we are left to ponder for ourselves whether Hebden Bridge is an 'Anytown, UK', or if it has its own unique, darker properties. Whatever the answer, uncomfortable questions are raised for all of us.
This is a hugely thought-provoking documentary which deserves to be widely viewed.
Reviews from others include:
"Something special" - Mark Kermode, The Guardian
100% Tomatometer (17 January 2011) - Rottentomatoes.com
"A lesson in the art of documentary filmmaking" - Alex Beattie, Critic's Notebook
"My top five - 1. Shed Your Tears & Walk Away..." - Mike McCahill, Cinésthesia
"...brave, honest, open-hearted filmmaking at its very best." - Martyn Conterio, Little White Lies
"This is sobering, determined, marvellous filmmaking." - Nigel Andrews, Financial Times
"...it's a doc that makes you care deeply..." - David Edwards, Daily Mirror