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Elstree 1976 Jon Spira documentary

Behind the masks. Beneath the helmets. Big people. Small roles

You would think a documentary focusing on ten of the bit players and background extras who worked on the original Star Wars would have limited appeal to anyone but a sci-fi obsessive. Yet Jon Spira’s intimate little film Elstree 1976 proves surprisingly touching and engaging as its subjects reminisce on the paths their lives have taken, either side of their brush with cinematic history.

Among Spira’s subjects, Star Wars unexpectedly bestowed a fame of sorts on Dave Prowse (Darth Vader) and Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett), but most of the interviewees appear content with their obscurity, and it is their very ordinariness that gives the film its bittersweet charm.

Certificate 12. Runtime 97 mins. Director Jon Spira

Elstree 1976 debuts on Sky Cinema Premiere on Thursday 4 May. Available on DVD from Soda Pictures.