As if being snubbed by the Academy Awards last night wasn’t enough, now the film Atonement is about to lose one of its iconic set pieces to Mother Nature.
The gorgeous cabin overlooking the sea amidst the whitewashed cliffs of East Sussex is central to the emotional plot of the film. The main character Robbie Turner turns time and time again to a photograph he carries with him showing the spot where he’ll once again return to his beloved Cecilia Tallis. It’s a beautiful film — and the 18-century cabin where those sequences were shot has been receiving much interest from tourists. However, it may soon all be swept to sea. Mother Nature is interested in developing the property herself. From the article,
“The Environment Agency’s proposals follow the discovery that the embankments of a Victorian canal running along the bottom of the valley are disintegrating. It has resolved to breach them, flooding the area and creating a natural marsh to attract wading birds. An environmental impact assessment is being carried out. Currently £50,000 a year is spent on maintaining the sea defences, bulldozing shingle from the river mouth to the base of the cliffs, and despite a 4,000-name petition to try to halt the plans, it is intended to let nature take its course.”
Obviously, those that are interested in preserving the history of the area (and capitalizing on renewed interest) are none too pleased about the idea. “These cottages appear in millions of paintings, in photographs and films as symbols of England,” said Nigel Newton, an owner of one of the cabins. “The one in Atonement, which is closest to the end of the headland, would go first – probably within 10 years – if the valley is flooded, as the sea would attack it from both sides. It’s about as realistic as deciding to dismantle the Thames Barrier and return south-east London to the fields from which it sprang.”
It will be interesting to see how this all turns out — especially since Atonement has made an emotional impact on many people. What’s your take?