THE JOURNEY AFTER 7/7
July 10, 2015
Three days ago marked a decade since the 7/7 London bombings happened, so it seemed an apt time to write about this 2012 film interview with Martine Wright. Travelling through Aldgate East tube on the morning of 7/7/05, Wright found herself victim of one of the bomb attacks, and losing both legs. After a long period of rehabilitation, as a way to piece together the work she had done on the 2012 bid, and the way the change to her body had effected her life, she started training in Sitting Volleyball, and made it all the way to the 2012 GB women’s team.
Wright’s story and the film which tells it first came to Bruizer’s attention when it was broadcast on Channel 4 during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games – which we followed closely since we were involved in a lot of filming at the Games. Recently re-watching it here at Bruizer, the film struck us as being remarkably well shot and assembled, giving a very moving and sensitive treatment of Wright’s experiences.
But although the emphasis is of course on Wright’s experience, the film also subtly describes much more than that: the way it uses archive footage and audio, and the ‘screen within a screen’ technique it employs also do much to evoke the way those outside London became aware of this shocking event, and in this way reaches out to touch them too.
Recreating this sense of shock and trauma is cleverly done. The sense of celebration induced by the London Olympic bid announcement the film opens with, and scenes on television screens of cheering crowds, are undercut more and more deeply as the shots of London transport are cut with shots of Wright’s wheelchair. She begins to tell the tale of finding herself sat next to a suicide bomber, and the sound design and use of silhouettes, shadows and movement in the original footage shot around London are beautifully edited together with the archive and interview footage for dramatic impact.
It’s a film which emotionally pulls us in different directions, a devastating yet ultimately inspirational story – and it’s not only perfect for London 2012 three years ago, or for remembering the 7/7 tragedy now 10 years on. The film also strives to present Wright’s story as a way of seeing something positive come out of those events, and her disability as a way of allowing her to participate in the Games which she had played a role in making happen. All the people we see watching, listening, reading within the film make it clear that this is a story worth listening to.