Title ID 6507Collection ID811
TitleLet Us Return
Collection[Penrose] Penrose / Trevelyan
Genre/TypeProfessionalIndependent Artist/Film-makerFiction
KeywordsPerforming Arts Interiors Landscape Visual Arts Transport Trains Hospitals
LocalLondon Chiddingly
RegionalGreater London East Sussex
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionAnthony Penrose
CameraDavid Bowerman
Commissioning bodyBBC Television
NarratorRoy Edwards
FormatColour Sound
Duration9 min. 20 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


Surrealist Poet Roy Edwards reads his poem "Let Us Return", intercut with original footage shot by Antony Penrose, archive footage of the underground in the 1960s, and quotes by Andre Breton and others. Produced by Penrose Film Productions in 1982.


Music, Echoes from Aenstria, composed by Sigvard Von Brevern and performed by Alien Dream, plays over the title, which disappears into rippling water. "Could a place like this exist..." (Stevie Wonder: Visions 1973) appears on screen. On a residential street, a milkman brings out two bottles of milk from his float and retrieves two empty vessels. Close-up views of shells and stones and other small objects, arranged on a table inside, follow. Roy Edwards is seen in his living room, with a golden retriever at his feet and cat nearby. He begins to read his poem; "Love is there in an envelope, folded from the collars of a sky, secured forever, against all the devices of astronomy. Time is the only forget-me-not constellation... I want to know about the centuries distilled and calcinated in your skull..." In footage by Antony Penrose, a skull is covered in blue paint, poured from a height; foretell then the transfigurations of this music into clouds, which will travel to their rest and consummation." A newspaper report from 1974 reads "I was shocked when I saw the note in the bathroom saying that she had run away." Roy continues his poem; "Ravenous eyes nailed to the wall over teeth dining on their own lips, but before such cannibal earthquakes, the note discovered in their bathroom unfolded a love song."

A JS Le Fanu quote from Uncle Silas (1865) is shown. Further close-up footage of Roy's collection of small objects is included. Roy looks out of the window; "Flutes and other winged and African instruments in the Pharonic garden delineate love as a sudden apparition, between open curtains or secured in a cradle that beating winds bear, over a railway station, beside that raining track..." The sound of a train driving along a track is heard, and a 'phantom ride', footage shot from the front of a moving train, Time Transfixed (1938), follows. A René Magritte painting of a train moving out of a fireplace is seen, as are Max Ernst collages and surrealist photomontage, rubbings and drawings. Archive footage, of the London Underground in the 1960s, follows. Roy continues to read over these images; "But I wake from that sleep that should have held me forever." A quote from Andre Breton appears (L'Amour Fou, 1937). Footage shot on location of a sunset, wild flowers and fields of Chiddingly in Sussex follows.

In a short fiction sequence, a nurse treats a patient in the countryside. Trees loom over the hospital screen. The nurse looks at the camera, shot from the point of view of the patient. She fills in paperwork and blood pours out of the pen. Roy continues to read; "But once upon a time, the dreams will synchronise with complete daylight, your opening eyes shall release the fine morning rain... Do you know the velvet of imagination." A Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo quote (Traduit de la Nuit, 1935) appears. Roy reads; "Night's duration, it is an horizon. Horizon our eyelids can never reject. It is at the height of your hands if they should touch my shoulders..." Further countryside views and collage follows, of horses flying off an 18th century building in a classical style. Roy is seen, reading the poem aloud in his living room; "What is the whisperate noontide the kiss of betrayal in the cedar garden. Mine is yours, the breaking of pear blossom." As the poem ends, a rose is cut. Roy strokes his dog and his partner [?] enters with a lead to take the dog for a walk. Roy stays seated. "Le Roy inconnu 1932 - 1982" ends the film.