Social Realism

January 5, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Arts & Humanities, Performing Arts, Drama
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British Social Realism

Social Realism ... Social realism is a genre of film that focuses on topical issues alive in a modern society which is represented by different ideologies. Themes such as money, drugs, prostitution and sex are quite usual in modern contemporary social realism films as well as class, religion and political views. These themes are very popular today but not all were involved in the early social realism storylines and films.

Social Realism ... The forms and conventions for social realism. The main forms and conventions are; The use of unknown actors. This supports the social realism genre because the actors could be anyone which makes it realistic. Social class is a very important form and convention as most social realism films deal with the working class like ‘Billy Elliot’ directed by Steven Daldry. The locations of a social realism film are usually set around a council estate or run down areas of different cities, but can be nice neighbourhood. Usually a social realism film deals with issues like drugs, sex, poverty, prostitution, homosexuality, alcoholism and crime. Social realism films usually involve political views and religious views.

The age is also important to the forms and conventions of social realism. Most films use young teenagers and young adults from 13 – 20. ‘Kidulthood’, ‘Kes’, ‘Sweet Sixteen’ and ‘This is England’ all have main characters between these ages.

All these actors shown in the pictures are unknown actors and actresses. Thomas Turgoose (This is England), David Bradley (Kes), Amel Ameen, Adam Deacon and Femi Oyeniran (Kidulthood) and Kate Jarvis (Fish Tank).

Social Realism ...

Social realisms target audience varies depending on the films forms and conventions, because social realism films use young main characters. This appeals to a young audience. A film like ‘Kidulthood’ is more likely to appeal to 13-18’s because the culture the film is set around appeals to the modern youth. The early social realism films like ‘Spare Time (1939)’ and ‘This Happy Breed (1944)’, social realism films would appeal to the over fifties very much. So social realism has a very broad audience in a sense that it appeals to the young and the old.

Social realism films like ‘Billy Elliot’ appeal everyone especially families as it’s a feel good film. Trainspotting on the other hand wouldn’t be appropriate for the family as there a strong drug references and swearing but would appeal to young adults from 18-30 and older generations.

Social Realism Timeline ...

The first noticed Social Realism film in Britain was Rescued by Rover (1905)

Target for Tonight (1941), directed by Harry Watt. An RAF bomber crew receives its orders and proceeds on a successful bombing raid over Germany.

Spare Time (1939), Spare Time is an incredible portrait of the post war working class and an early illustration of Humphrey Jennings' genius.

Passport to Pimlico (d. Henry Cornelius, 1949). The inhabitants of a London street discover buried treasure and documents proving they are really citizens of Burgundy. When the government tries to claim the treasure for the Crown, the Burgundians declare their independence.

This Happy Breed (1944), directed by David Lean. The lives of an ordinary lower middle-class London family between the two world wars.

Thunderbolt (1952), directed by Charles Crichton, When a small rail branch line is threatened with closure, a group of villagers band together to run it themselves, in the face of opposition from a bus company.

All information on both timeline slides is from

Social Realism Timeline ...

Thunderbolt (1952), directed by Charles Crichton, When a small rail branch line is threatened with closure, a group of villagers band together to run it themselves, in the face of opposition from a bus company.

Room at the Top (1958), directed by Jack Clayton An ambitious young working-class man moves to the wealthy town of Warnley to work for the council. He pursues the daughter of the local industrialist, but also falls in love with a married French woman. He finds he has to choose between them.

Kes is a 1969 British film from director Ken Loach and producer Tony Garnett. About the struggles of a young boy with no aspirations but has hope when he brings up a Kestrel falcon

High Hopes (1988), directed by Mike Leigh. Working-class couple Shirley and Cyril are in conflict over whether they should have children, their problems with 'yuppies' moving into the neighbourhood and out pricing them, and the advent of Cyril's ageing mother's seventieth birthday.

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960), directed by Karel Reisz. Factory worker and ladabout-town Arthur Seaton is having an affair with the wife of a workmate. She becomes pregnant and he starts to go out with a younger woman, Doreen. Eventually he decides to settle down with Doreen, but insists he will never conform.

Secrets & Lies is a 1996 British film directed by Mike Leigh. The film is about an adopted black woman finding her real mother after her adopted mother died.

This Is England is a 2006 drama film written and directed by Shane Meadows. About a young boy who’s father died in the Falkland’s war and has trouble at school comes across a group of skinheads and is accepted into their group

Fish Tank is a 2009 British drama film directed by Andrea Arnold. About a fifteen year old girl who has trouble at school and problems with friends. Her mother brings back a new man into the house who promised to change everything.

History of Social Realism ... Britain's contribution to cinema in the 1930s lay in a state-sponsored documentary tradition that would feed into the 1940s mainstream. Producer Michael Balcon revived the social/aesthetic distinction when he referred to the British industry's longstanding rivalry with Hollywood in terms of 'realism and tinsel'. Balcon, in his position as head of Ealing Studios, would become a key figure in the emergence of a national cinema characterised by stoicism and verisimilitude. Combining the objective temper and aesthetics of the documentary movement with the stars and resources of studio filmmaking, 1940s British cinema made a stirring appeal to a mass audience.

Documentarist Humphrey Jennings had been responsible for consensus-building works like Listen to Britain (1942) and Spare Time (1939), which, looking at the British at play, forged a 'new iconography', influencing the 1950s Free Cinema documentary movement and the 1960s British New Wave. One of the strongest images of post-war British cinema is that of factory worker Arthur Seaton downing a pint in one at the end of another week in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960). Related to, though independent of, the commercial mainstream, the New Wave was fed by the 'Angry Young Men' of 1950s theatre, the verisimilitude of Italian Neo-realism and the youth appeal of the French New Wave. Amid the smokestacks and terraces of regional life, Room at the Top (1958), The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962), and A Kind of Loving (1962) brought wide shots and plain speaking to stories of ordinary Britons negotiating the social structures of post-war Britain. Thanks to the relaxation of censorship, characters had sex lives, money worries, social problems. British 'auteurs' like Karel Reisz, Tony Richardson and John Schlesinger dealt with prostitution, abortion, homosexuality, alienation and relationship problems. Here were factory workers, office underlings, dissatisfied wives, pregnant girlfriends, runaways, the marginalised, poor and depressed.

The New Wave was symptomatic of a worldwide emergence of art cinemas challenging mainstream aesthetics and attitudes. Identified with their directors rather than with the industry, the New Wave films tended to address issues around masculinity that would become common in British social realism. The New Wave protagonist was usually a working-class male without bearings in a society in which traditional industries and the cultures that went with them were in decline. Directors from Ken Loach to Patrick Keiller, and films from Mike Leigh's High Hopes (1988) to The Full Monty (1997) have addressed the erosion of regional and class identities amid a landscape rendered increasingly uniform by consumerism.

Contrast Between Early Social Realism Film and Modern Social Realism Film Trailers ...

Passport to Pimlico (1949) Trailer

This is England (2006) trailer

Contrast in Trailers ... I chose the ‘This is England’ & ‘Passport to Pimlico’ trailers because their is a clear contrast between the two. ‘Passport to Pimlico’ was made in 1949 where as ‘This is England’ was made in 2006. That is a difference of fifty seven years. ‘This is England’ uses shots that aren’t from the film but footage shot during the 80’s which sets the era of the film. ‘Passport to Pimlico’ has the title of the film along the bottom for most of the trailer where as ‘This is England’s’ titles come right at the end. ‘This is England’ uses the reviews to show how well it did. ‘Passport to Pimlico’ doesn’t use any of this. Both films use a voice over. ‘Passport to Pimlico’ uses it pretty much through out the whole trailer. ‘This is England’ uses bits of sound from the film which is their voice over.

There is the obvious contrast between the colour of the trailers. ‘Passport to Pimlico’ was made way before colour T.V so it is in black and white. The music on ‘This is England’ changes when a new main character is introduced into the trailer. The mood is then changed which is very effective. ‘Passport to Pimlico’ has a bit of old fashioned music at the beginning and then fades out then the rest is dialogue from the film but the music comes back as the titles appear.

There is a clear contrast between accents, ‘Passport to Pimlico’ the actors are very well spoken with a southern accent where as the ‘This is England’ actors speak with a northern accent and use a bit of slang. The dress sense again is apparent. ‘This is England’s’ storyline focuses on skinhead fashion and style. ‘Passport to Pimlico’ are very well and traditionally dressed. Suits and ties are what most of the male actors are in and dresses are what the females are in. There are political views portrayed In ‘This is England’ there are views about Margaret Thatcher and how many un-employed people there are in 1980’s Britain. There aren’t strong references in ‘Passport to Pimlico’ but there are mild themes in the trailer.

Social Realism Production Companies ... There seem to be many companies that produced social realism films. In the earlier years of social realism there wasn’t a main production company.

The Crown Film Unit was an organisation within the British Government's Ministry of Information during World War II. Formerly the GPO Film Unit it became the Crown Film Unit in 1940. Its remit was to make films for the general public in Britain and abroad. Its output included short information and documentary films, as well as longer drama-documentaries, as well as a few straight drama productions. The Crown Film Unit continued to produce films, as part of the Central Office of Information (COI), until it was disbanded in 1952. _Unit

Woodfall is the force behind many of the films that transformed the British cinema into one of the most dynamic in the world: Look Back in Anger, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, A Taste of Honey, The Knack...and How to Get It, Kes, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, and more. These films not only popularized in British cinema technical developments such as the use of real locations and synchronously recorded sound, they also introduced an astounding new class of British actors: Albert Finney, Rita Tushingham, Tom Courtenay. all.html

Film4 Productions is a British film production company owned by Channel 4. The company has been responsible for backing a large number of films made in the United Kingdom. The company's first production was Walter, directed by Stephen Frears, which was released in 1982. Before 1998, the company was identified as Channel Four Films or FilmFour International. Later, the outfit was rebranded as FilmFour, to coincide with the launch of a new Digital TV channel of the same name. The company cut its budget and staff significantly in 2002, due to mounting losses, and was re-integrated into the drama department of Channel 4.

Billy Elliot (2000) ... Billy Elliot (2000) was written by Lee Hall and directed by Stephen Daldry. Billy Elliot is set around the time of UK miners strike in the mid 1980’s and is about the story of a young boxer who takes up his dream of ballet. The film shows his struggles with his family especially his father and brother who they fear he is gay. The street scenes were filmed in Easington, County Durham, a former mining village. As Easington Colliery closed in 1983 the mining scenes were filmed at the Ellington and Lynemouth colliery in Northumberland, with some filming in Dawdon and Newcastle upon Tyne. The producers used over 400 Easington people as extras.

Billy Elliot used the song ‘A Town Called Malice’ by The Jam . The soundtrack was famous before the film was out. Using such a famous song is a good way to market the film because when people hear it they will know its the Billy Elliot soundtrack.

Trainspotting ... •“Train spotting” - Directed by Danny Boyle who also directed “28 days later” and“ Slum dog millionaire”. Train spotting was released on the 23rd of February 1996. It also falls under the comedy, crime, drama genres. Renton (Ewan McGregor), deeply immersed in the Edinburgh drug scene, tries to clean up and get out, despite the allure of the drugs and influence of friends. Producer Andrew Macdonald read the book and turned it on to director Danny Boyle and writer John Hodge. Boyle was excited by its potential to be the "most energetic film you've ever seen - about something that ultimately ends up in purgatory or worse". Hodge adapted the book while Macdonald secured financing from Channel 4, a British television station known for funding independent films. According to Boyle, for the role of Renton, they wanted somebody who had the quality "Michael Caine's got in Alfie and Malcolm McDowell's got in A Clockwork Orange" - a repulsive character with charm "that makes you feel deeply ambiguous about what he's doing". Ewan McGregor was cast in the part and shaved his head and lost 26 pounds for the film. Trainspotting was shot in the summer of 1995 over seven weeks on a budget of $2.5 million with the cast and crew working out of an abandoned cigarette factory in Glasgow. Due to a lack of budget and time, most scenes were done in one take and the effects were achieved practically. For example, when Renton sinks into the floor after overdosing on heroin, the crew built a platform above a trap door and lowered the actor down. Macdonald worked with Miramax Films to sell the film as a British Pulp Fiction, flooding the market with postcards, posters, books, soundtrack albums, and a revamped music video for "Lust for Life" by Iggy Pop directed by Boyle. Upon its initial release in the United States, the first 20 minutes of Trainspotting were re-edited with alternate dialogue. Because of the strong Scottish accents and language of the characters, it was believed that American audiences might have difficulty understanding them. In addition, to ensure that the film received an R rating, Boyle trimmed two scenes: a needle going into a vein on an arm and Kelly Macdonald straddling McGregor during an orgasm. The original dialogue was later restored on the Criterion Collection laser disc in 1997 and then on the re-release of the "Director's Cut (The Collector's Edition)" DVD in 2004.

Our Ideas ... We have found out through researching different and various types of social realism films that it’s not an ambitions task to do our own. We have seen that most of the films use young main characters, normal locations and unknown actors. When we distribute the film, we would use a company like Revolver Entertainment or Optimum Releasing. Revolver Entertainment distributed ‘Kidulthood’ and Optimum Releasing distributed ‘This is England’. They will be interested in our film idea because it will pick up on present issues and political views. It will also be aimed at 15-25 year olds which is a very good market as they go to the cinema frequently.

Our Initial Ideas ... We have thought about themes and what to do for our film: We have thought about a young drug dealer trying to clean up his life and start to straighten up.

A young teenager falls into the wrong crowd after being a good student and person. They then influence him and he becomes violent and drug obsessed. A young teenager who’s father dies in the Iraq war, struggles to deal with life without a father figure and how they and their mother cope.

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