Morris dancing subject of new British film

Media experts are scratching their heads over the word-of-mouth success of the new British film Morris: a Life with Bells On, a comedy, shot in documentary style, about a group of Morris dancers. See the trailer online.

The film stars Derek Jacobi, Harriet Walter and Greg Wise and is currently touring England.

From a review in the Independent

Before you see it, though, I have a few secrets to share about "the Morris" (as dancers know it) having been drawn in of late (I even had a go last week, for professional reasons, you understand). The first is that it's not dying.

Last month the Morris Ring said it was because young people were too embarrassed to get involved. Which sensible teenage boy would want to be seen jangling his bells in public with a "side" of bearded hankie-waving blokes? They're all men in the Morris Ring, you see. The organisation has 200 member sides, but none of them allow women. The second thing you need to know is that the "classic" all-male, white-clad style of Morris – called Cotswolds, because it comes from that area – is not the only one. Far from it. There are Molly Dancers in hobnailed boots, sword sides skipping over sharp blades, goths in black shades and seriously alarming Bedlam Morris men and women in masks who look like they're carrying out wild rituals. Then there is Border Morris, the fastest-growing form, whose followers belong to the rival Morris Federation.