Forget the glitz and glamour of spy thrillers: Tracking Edith delves into the complexities of espionage and looks at a life stricken by poverty and drama. Inspired by his book The Darkrooms of Edith Tudor-Hart, Peter Stephen Jungk has created this detailed and moving documentary about his eponymous aunt, an Austrian-born photographer and Soviet spy who changed the course of history.
Most importantly, Tudor-Hart recruited the infamous British double agent Kim Philby and helped to establish the Cambridge Five. She betrayed many but always in hope of a more promising future, particularly encouraging balanced nuclear power. Yet it is her social photography depicting life in Vienna and London during the 1930s that speaks volumes about a woman who desperately wanted to make a difference.
Despite her significant influence on historic events and her artistic genius, the subject’s life was also beset with frenzied and failed relationships, concern for her autistic son Tommy – who ended up institutionalised – and a constant lack of money.
Jungk hones in on the complexities of his aunt’s story and his documentary beautifully depicts the mess and intensity of one woman’s double life. The director unravels what had been a well-kept secret until the agent’s death in 1973 by speaking with military historians, photo archivists, ex-KGB agents and family members.
Using these conversations, the striking photographs of Tudor-Hart herself and animated sequences, Jungk invites us on a journey. By exploring and linking together her art, what is known of her work as a spy, her family history and mental health struggles in later life, Tracking Edith raises important questions of morality and politics but, ultimately, gives one courageous woman the recognition she never recieved.
Tracking Edith is released nationwide on 27th July 2018.
Watch the trailer for Tracking Edith here