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British Social Realism Timeline

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Lauren A.C.

on 20 January 2013

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Transcript of British Social Realism Timeline

British Social Realism Genre Themes The setting of a social realist theme is usually a working class setting as the characters that are focused on are from working class areas or backgrounds.

The setting helps enforce the societal injustice, people living in squalid conditions. That because these people have little money or the area they live in they are treated really badly. This is usually is at least an underlying theme of a social realist film, as the beauty of social realism is that they tell storys that others don't like to, that hollywood doesn't like to. The people from working class backgrounds are often portrayed in a heroic way even though very often it isn't heroic what they are doing, that to other people working through the hardship that they have to is seen as heroic.

The portrayal of the storyline in the working class setting is often very realistic one, which people from those backgrounds can relate to. If the storyline is known to be realistic people can relate to the characters hardships as they are almost what could happen in real life. After WWI it was felt by a lot of people that the key to cinema was realism, and though Middle classed south-eastern people agreed, the working-class still favored the Hollywood type film making and plot. As a result early realism films reflected the high education and seriousness of the middle class. British Social Realism, a timeline of it's brief history. Post WWI In the 1930's the state sponsored documentary film making, this fueled the british interest in realism because real things were the things that could get funding. Where as sourcing funding form else where meant a tiresome restricted project, often risky. 1930's The state funded documentary making then fed into the 1940's mainstream. A combination of the documentary movement, the stars, and the resources of studio film making helped make British cinema appeal to a mass audience. WWII was what was happening in society at that moment and was reflected in the realism films. 1940's The films reflected what was happening to a transforming society, a new outlook, women working in factories doing jobs that were seen as 'mans work' because the men were at war. This showed a a reassignment in gender roles especially in work when then men came back from war and the women were doing their jobs. Also rationing and air raids were shown along with the country's philosophy 'one nation, one goal'. This Happy Breed and other films of the early 1940's smoothed away tensions of class bound society by depicting it in film. This Happy Breed, directed by David Lean, showing the landmark events of the Gibbons family life between 1924 and 1936. It ended up being the most successful film of 1944, and has an excellent use of contrapuntal sound against some bad news. 1944 This Happy Breed The 1950's saw the 'free cinema' documentary movement, which was created by the likes of Lindsay Anderson, Karel Reisz, and Tony Richardson. These films were free from box office demands as they were made without the help of the film industry, often self funded or with a small experimental film grant. It rejected the traditional conservative British cinema and also the documentary making of post war. They focused of the realist portrayal and the constraints in technology define it's style, 16mm short shots of no more than 22 seconds and were often hand held. 1950's This film was directed by Lindsay Anderson and was made possible by his Free Cinema accomplice Karl Reisz. A rough treatment was written but most was improvised in the 4 week filming period. It revived unanimous praise from reviewers and the Gran Prix at the Venice Festival of Shorts and Documentaries. It celebrates the virtues and dignity of ordinary people at work. It is argued as one of the most ambitious of Free Cinema and the most representative of the movement 1957 Every Day Except Christmas The 1960's saw in the hippies and the 'New Wave' movement, evolving from Free Cinema, a documentary style, but with a fictional plot. These films showed difficulties and conflict in working class lives rather than the higher educated middle and upper classes, often described as kitchen sink dramas. Also the relaxation of censorship allowed an even more realistic representation of characters because they had sex lives, they talked about abortion, and money problems. They showed mainly a male protagonist feeling alienated in a society where traditional industry and culture was in decline. This really challenged mainstream cinema aesthetics, and addressed issues around social class and masculinity. The New Wave movement later defined British Social Realism into what it is today. 1960's Out of the New Wave movement saw really talented directors such as Ken Loach and Mike Leigh, who depicted the impact of a consumer society on family life. Loach's long take naturalistic Kes, showed a working class boy train up a Kestrel and was Loach's second feature film. It's based on the book by Barry Hines, 'The Kestrel for a Knave'. Showing how the education blots out young people's talents when they come from a working class background and sets them onto the narrow path of work that lies ahead of them. Colin Welland, who played Mr Farthing the English teacher was the only professional actor in the whole class. Kes has now become one of Ken Loach's best known and loved films of his career 1969 Kes In the 1982 Film Four Productions produced it's first film, Walter directed by Stephen Frears and in 2006 it was later christened as Film4 Productions. It attempted to cultivate a cinema audience for realism by funding British realism cinema. A lot of the realist films made in the 1980's show what it was like to live in the Thatcher years, 'Films on Four' My Beautiful Laundrette and Letter to Brezhnev (both 1985) show what it is like to live on the edges of society while trying to stake a claim in the new orders of things. 1980's In the 1990's the funding for films became more risky especially niche realist films, this meant that realist films had to become more formulaic. Formulaic appeals to a wider audience making them more commercial, because big audiences like to stick with what they know. The films had the narrative of 'triumph over adversity' and also had the feel-good factor of Hollywood. 1990's The Full Monty is a comedy-drama directed by Pter Cattaneo, set in Sheffield England it tells the story of six unemployed men. They decide to form a male strip tease act to raise money for the main character, Gaz, to be able to see his son. The film is a great example of the themes of 90's realism films, the feel-good factor with real life problems. The film touches on serious subjects such as unemployment and a fathers rights. 1997 Full Monty Trainspotting is one film in the director, Danny Boyle's prolific career, adapted from the novel of the same name by Irvine Welsh. In the mid-1990's drugs had become a part of everyone's lives, not just those in impoverished or socially excluded backgrounds. Trainspotting explores the problems involved in people's lives who are addicted to heroine, and showing how the main character Renton wants to escape it. It in no way glamourizes the use of heroine and makes the viewer see the reasons behind it showing the devastation it can leave, but still in a comedic way. 1996 Trainspotting Social realism today is raw and gritty, and it seen as Britain's main style of film, it's what Britian is famous for. Americans, generally, are the Hollywood types who like happy endings or over simplified emotions. British social realism today is hard hitting and reflect what is happening at the moment. They often tell the stories of the multicultural working class, who are really the underdogs of today's society. They have to face the usual problems of being working class plus racism and stigma. Today Kidulthood is a great example of the British social realist films available today, it tells the story of a group of 15 year olds living in West London. Trife the main character faces the problem of his 'bad news' uncle, who shows him the troubled life of drugs and guns, which he knows is wrong. The script written by Noel Clarke who also plays a part in the film and stars in, writes, and directs the squeal AdULTHOOD. He said that a lot of the scenes from the film are created out of real life situations and that the characters are based on real people in his life. 2006 KiDULTHOOD
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