The Ponds review – deep dive into Hampstead Heath's swimming culture

the Guardian | 1/10/2019 | Peter Bradshaw


In the nicest possible way, this gentle and forthright film is a kind of home movie, almost a series of hyperlocal video-diary entries, full of uncomplicated happiness in a way that most documentaries aren’t. Mixing interviews, ambient material and wonderful drone footage, this is a tribute to the bathing ponds of Hampstead Heath in north London – the women’s one, the mixed one and the men’s one, and to the people of all ages, identities and backgrounds who use them all year-round. They are people who have developed what might be called a virtuous addiction, a predilection for the cold-water endorphin rush, especially in the winter when the heath is at its most beautiful and the water at its coldest.

This is Britain’s equivalent to Germany’s freikörperkultur. I confess that I have sometimes...
(Excerpt) Read more at: the Guardian
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