Dissent & Disruption: Alan Clarke at the BBC

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domino harvey
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Re: Dissent & Disruption: Alan Clarke at the BBC

#701 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jun 16, 2016 11:52 am

I didn't read Werewolf's post as an attack on MichaelB and co and all, it seemed like a pretty innocuous sentiment (and one frequently brought up elsewhere on the board)

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tenia
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Re: Dissent & Disruption: Alan Clarke at the BBC

#702 Post by tenia » Thu Jun 16, 2016 12:19 pm

Yes, it certainly wouldn't the first time that a release generates more comments before its release date than after.

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RossyG
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Re: Dissent & Disruption: Alan Clarke at the BBC

#703 Post by RossyG » Thu Jun 16, 2016 1:49 pm

domino harvey wrote:Sure, us stateside people will let you know in eight months when our Asendia packages finally arrive from Amazon
...and once you've decoded the accents. I'm longing for the American reaction to Goodnight Albert. :)

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Big Ben
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Re: Dissent & Disruption: Alan Clarke at the BBC

#704 Post by Big Ben » Thu Jun 16, 2016 3:31 pm

Received my set today (alongside the two Alan Clarke books and the theatrical version of Scum). I immediately went off to watch Road and would like to now share my thoughts on this amazing little film.

As someone who grew up in and still lives in a small town (although nowhere near as small as this one) I found this to be incredibly touching. This was the perfect place to start! Thanks to MichaelB and Nick Wrigley for their recommendation!

"Somehow, somehow, I might escape."
SpoilerShow
I think what stuck me most about the film was how organic it felt. The monologues that take up most of the film didn't strike me once as insincere and neither did the performances (especially by the woman playing Carol). Clarke's camera follows this individuals in a way that felt strange at first (At least to me, I haven't seen takes this long since I last watched an Angelopoulos film!) but gradually become the soul of the picture. We aren't just following people, we're following their very lives, memories, hopes and dreams. When I accepted this it become an incredibly emotional experience for me. I've heard these stories before, these frustrations vented. I've seen the spit fly and felt the emotions some of these characters have felt. The long takes only serve to further the purpose of the words Jim Cartwright wrote.

On that same note I think it's a testament to Clarke that the film in no way judges these characters (Unlike my home town). They're simply followed by the camera. Allowed to speak freely about everything within them.
I'll share more thoughts as they come to me (I'd like some more time to process) but I hope this enough to start a small conversation with those who have seen the film.

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Big Ben
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Re: Dissent & Disruption: Alan Clarke at the BBC

#705 Post by Big Ben » Fri Jun 17, 2016 8:35 am

I just finished watching The Director's Cut of The Firm and I'm sort of dumbfounded. People actually did things like this? As in this took inspiration from things people were really doing in England? I realize this may sound dumb but I cannot wrap my head around this lunacy.

The film was great though!

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Re: Dissent & Disruption: Alan Clarke at the BBC

#706 Post by MichaelB » Fri Jun 17, 2016 9:27 am

Not just did, still doing. Google "England Russia Marseilles" for a very very recent example. And indeed an ongoing one, for as long as those teams remain in Euro 2016 (although both have been threatened with premature expulsion, and Russia is currently on a final warning.)

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Big Ben
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Re: Dissent & Disruption: Alan Clarke at the BBC

#707 Post by Big Ben » Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:28 am

I'm shocked to say the least. I'm not too invested in the sports world and this comes as quite a shock to me.

As for the film, some thoughts:

"I need the buzz!"
SpoilerShow
I think what stuck me again, much like Road was how organic everything felt (Even the fight scenes). Clarke allowed Bex to breathe, regardless of how he felt about him (Reading about the film in the essay in the book tells me Clarke was very frustrated with hooliganism). Clarke films the scenes of tribalistic fervor with a gaze that I don't see too often and I could only really watch in horror at certain scenes (The one involving the child was too terrible for words). What makes the film so disturbing for me is that the film doesn't go out of it's way to necessarily condemn Bex as much as it simply shows the scenes of escalating violence with an unflinching gaze. While it's obvious to us now how Clarke felt about people like Bex I think it's a testament to him that he didn't need to get on a soapbox to show the horrors of both escalating violence but hooliganism as well.

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Re: Dissent & Disruption: Alan Clarke at the BBC

#708 Post by MichaelB » Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:36 am

While it's obvious to us now how Clarke felt about people like Bex I think it's a testament to him that he didn't need to get on a soapbox to show the horrors of both escalating violence but hooliganism as well.
For me, this is the absolutely fundamental difference between Alan Clarke and Ken Loach, for all the superficial similarity between the subjects that they often tackle. I'm a huge Loach admirer, but he doesn't trust his audience half as much as Clarke does.

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Big Ben
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Re: Dissent & Disruption: Alan Clarke at the BBC

#709 Post by Big Ben » Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:44 am

MichaelB wrote:
While it's obvious to us now how Clarke felt about people like Bex I think it's a testament to him that he didn't need to get on a soapbox to show the horrors of both escalating violence but hooliganism as well.
For me, this is the absolutely fundamental difference between Alan Clarke and Ken Loach, for all the superficial similarity between the subjects that they often tackle. I'm a huge Loach admirer, but he doesn't trust his audience half as much as Clarke does.
I have only seen one film by Ken Loach, The Wind That Shakes the Barley so I can't necessarily comment on him as well as you can. What I can say is that I didn't feel preached at and I felt as if I was I was indeed trusted with the material as a member of the audience. It was an incredibly refreshing, if disturbing experience.

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Re: Dissent & Disruption: Alan Clarke at the BBC

#710 Post by RossyG » Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:57 am

Big Ben wrote:I just finished watching The Director's Cut of The Firm and I'm sort of dumbfounded. People actually did things like this? As in this took inspiration from things people were really doing in England? I realize this may sound dumb but I cannot wrap my head around this lunacy.
You might find this interesting:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wav_Bfhb5Tw" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Dissent & Disruption: Alan Clarke at the BBC

#711 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Fri Jun 17, 2016 2:25 pm

MichaelB wrote:Not just did, still doing. Google "England Russia Marseilles" for a very very recent example. And indeed an ongoing one, for as long as those teams remain in Euro 2016 (although both have been threatened with premature expulsion, and Russia is currently on a final warning.)
Looks like Croatia have surpassed both. They were fighting themselves in the stands!

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Re: Dissent & Disruption: Alan Clarke at the BBC

#712 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Fri Jun 17, 2016 2:30 pm

Big Ben wrote:Received my set today (alongside the two Alan Clarke books and the theatrical version of Scum). I immediately went off to watch Road and would like to now share my thoughts on this amazing little film.

As someone who grew up in and still lives in a small town (although nowhere near as small as this one) I found this to be incredibly touching. This was the perfect place to start! Thanks to MichaelB and Nick Wrigley for their recommendation!

"Somehow, somehow, I might escape."
SpoilerShow
I think what stuck me most about the film was how organic it felt. The monologues that take up most of the film didn't strike me once as insincere and neither did the performances (especially by the woman playing Carol). Clarke's camera follows this individuals in a way that felt strange at first (At least to me, I haven't seen takes this long since I last watched an Angelopoulos film!) but gradually become the soul of the picture. We aren't just following people, we're following their very lives, memories, hopes and dreams. When I accepted this it become an incredibly emotional experience for me. I've heard these stories before, these frustrations vented. I've seen the spit fly and felt the emotions some of these characters have felt. The long takes only serve to further the purpose of the words Jim Cartwright wrote.

On that same note I think it's a testament to Clarke that the film in no way judges these characters (Unlike my home town). They're simply followed by the camera. Allowed to speak freely about everything within them.
I'll share more thoughts as they come to me (I'd like some more time to process) but I hope this enough to start a small conversation with those who have seen the film.
Yeah Road is phenomenally good. In theory Clarke's steadicam experiments should suit Cartwright's kitchen sink play like oil suits water, but it meshes brilliantly well. It's quite something; Carole's rapid-fire dialogue with anyone she comes across with, Valerie's monologue that feels completely claustrophobic to listen to, even David Thewlis as Joey like some kind of younger Johnny from Naked. If you wanted a televisual document of 80s Northern Britain, Road is it.

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Re: Dissent & Disruption: Alan Clarke at the BBC

#713 Post by MichaelB » Fri Jun 17, 2016 4:10 pm

The Digital Fix's disc-by-disc survey reaches A Follower for Emily and Diane.

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Re: Dissent & Disruption: Alan Clarke at the BBC

#714 Post by Big Ben » Sat Jun 18, 2016 11:01 am

Having a break from work is nice and I've managed to watch both versions of Scum over the course of two days. As such you can throw me into the lot that prefers the original television version of Scum to the theatrical version. While there are things to like about both versions I much prefer the more documentary-style feeling of the original.

A few brief thoughts on why I feel this way:
SpoilerShow
The most glaring omission from the theatrical version is Carlin's lack of taking on a "missus". I feel it removed some vulnerability from the character.
The sequence with Archer and the official. The framing was better in the television version and created more tension. At least I feel this way. I feel on the whole that the original was framed better.
The violence seemed to be stepped up simply because it was allowed theatrically. I'm not necessarily complaining about Clarke's use of it as much as I feel the restraint of the original was more effective.
One thing the theatrical version does have over the television version.
SpoilerShow
Is the sequence when Carlin acts against the original "Daddy" and his associate. The hand held shot leading up the steps is amazing.
I will say this. Watching just these few features from Clarke has been an incredibly refreshing experience.

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Re: Dissent & Disruption: Alan Clarke at the BBC

#715 Post by MichaelB » Sat Jun 18, 2016 11:07 am

For me the absolutely pivotal difference between the TV and cinema versions of Scum is that the actors are the right age in the 1977 version. By 1979, they were two years older - and for teenagers, that makes one hell of a difference. They look more like young adults in the feature film, but the TV version really rams home just how young and vulnerable they were when they entered the Borstal system (which was abolished not long afterwards).

Incidentally, the omission of the "missus" sequence from the cinema version was at Ray Winstone's request, and he later conceded that this was a mistake. Screenwriter Roy Minton was furious about the cut - not least because at the time it seemed unlikely that anyone would get to see the TV version (which was ultimately given its first public airing in 1991, when it was already the age of some of its cast).

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Re: Dissent & Disruption: Alan Clarke at the BBC

#716 Post by kidc85 » Sat Jun 18, 2016 12:28 pm

MichaelB wrote:the Borstal system (which was abolished not long afterwards).
Just looked this up, the theatrical SCUM was 1979, borstals were abolished in the UK in 1982. Is there an established causal link between the two, or did SCUM reflect an already prevalent idea that the system had become broken?

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Re: Dissent & Disruption: Alan Clarke at the BBC

#717 Post by Big Ben » Sat Jun 18, 2016 12:56 pm

MichaelB wrote:For me the absolutely pivotal difference between the TV and cinema versions of Scum is that the actors are the right age in the 1977 version. By 1979, they were two years older - and for teenagers, that makes one hell of a difference. They look more like young adults in the feature film, but the TV version really rams home just how young and vulnerable they were when they entered the Borstal system (which was abolished not long afterwards).
I agree. I thought many of the actors appeared too old in the theatrical version. Winstone in particular I felt was more vulnerable in the television version.
kidc85 wrote: Just looked this up, the theatrical SCUM was 1979, borstals were abolished in the UK in 1982. Is there an established causal link between the two, or did SCUM reflect an already prevalent idea that the system had become broken?
In the book included in the release a sentence states it may have played a role. Ashley Clarke wrote it. Although I'm still just off watching it I can certainly agree with the essay included. Scum is no "museum piece" and is certainly a critique of institution and is again certainly a portrait of disenfranchised youth.

As someone whose parent worked on prisoner re-entry I can tell you that many of these boys would likely have no future, at least in the United States. Simply because of the way the system works. It's an endless cycle. That to me is what makes Scum so heartbreaking in places.

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Re: Dissent & Disruption: Alan Clarke at the BBC

#718 Post by MichaelB » Mon Jun 20, 2016 2:03 am

The Digital Fix survey reaches Funny Farm and Scum.

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Re: Dissent & Disruption: Alan Clarke at the BBC

#719 Post by AidanKing » Mon Jun 20, 2016 4:34 am

I agree entirely with what Big Ben and thirtyframesasecond have said about Road. I think it's here that the similarities between Clarke's steadicam and the types of tracking shots used by Bela Tarr and the Dardenne brothers become really clear, both in a formal sense and in the way they are used to show various kinds of entrapment. Of course, not all walking films are like this: I re-watched Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise recently and was struck by the obvious difference in the way that walking is used to express possibility and a degree of freedom instead.

It's sad that The Firm is really current again with events at the Euros and interesting that Ben was surprised that the film had a basis in reality, which of course makes sense if you come to it without any knowledge of the insanity of football hooliganism. I imagine people in America are also shocked that the British MP Jo Cox, who was killed on Thursday, didn't have any police protection when carrying out a surgery for her constituents, as I imagine a senator or congressman in the U.S. would have in a similar position, even though this is a partly a result of the availability of firearms. Also talking about the differences between the U.S. and U.K., I think Psy-Warriors is an interesting riposte to the idea, prevalent among many people in Britain, that the British state doesn't use torture as a tool of state policy.

Richard Kelly has written a good piece on Clarke's Northern Ireland films, which sees them as being pivotal in his development from a driven collaborator with writers to an auteur. Zedz wrote earlier about Elephant being the most extreme form of conceptual art its audience (a terrestrial TV broadcast!) would have seen at the time: it still seems like that to me now. In one of the radio broadcasts linked to earlier, David Leland talks about watching it and thinking Clarke had gone too far as the killings went on and on and then thinking that this has got to stop and then realising that that was the point.

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Re: Dissent & Disruption: Alan Clarke at the BBC

#720 Post by Big Ben » Mon Jun 20, 2016 4:53 am

I think part of my shock comes from the fact that I'm an American and that I'm not too invested in the sports world.

As for Northern Ireland I must admit I'm very nervous about talking about the Troubles and Clarke's two films about them because I realize it's a thorny issue for some people. While I've read that Clarke avoided taking sides the idea of talking about a foreign countries politics while not being fully informed makes me sweat, not least because I'm on the spectrum and already have problems with communication ( I realize that may be TMI but I feel I need to get it out there because I'm spending so much time in the thread).

On another note I wish to thank MichaelB yet again for recommending both the Kelly and Rolinson books on Clarke. While I'm only reading sections as I move my way through the filmography I'm quite enjoying them. I can't recommend them enough for you guys.

Anyway I'm off to watch Penda's Fen now. Hoping it's as great as I've heard.

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Re: Dissent & Disruption: Alan Clarke at the BBC

#721 Post by AidanKing » Mon Jun 20, 2016 6:05 am

Big Ben wrote:I think part of my shock comes from the fact that I'm an American and that I'm not too invested in the sports world.
I think your shock is totally appropriate. The Firm should be shocking because the behaviour of football hooligans at the time was appalling. Unfortunately, hooliganism allowed the government to treat football fans in general as being subhuman in some way, which led pretty much directly to the Hillsborough disaster.

I think it's marvellous that these films are now available in such a fantastic edition and are finding a new and enthusiastic audience as a result.

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Re: Dissent & Disruption: Alan Clarke at the BBC

#722 Post by Big Ben » Mon Jun 20, 2016 6:57 am

AidanKing wrote: I think it's marvellous that these films are now available in such a fantastic edition and are finding a new and enthusiastic audience as a result.
Although I've only seen a few films in the set now I will openly state this is arguably the best purchase I've made in any medium in a long, long time.

Now onto Penda's Fen. What can I say about this film that likely already hasn't been said? It's beautiful, subversive and altogether brilliant. I cannot believe that this was made for television, especially at the time it was. It's content would arguably even be controversial on American television today! Certain thematic material, such as questioning the state, homosexuality, rejection of religion etc. is still regarded as taboo for many channels here and it's discussion either skirted around or avoided all together.

My brain is still processing this one and I'll very likely be visiting it again in the near future as I feel it will warrant repeat viewings. More thoughts to possibly follow.

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Re: Dissent & Disruption: Alan Clarke at the BBC

#723 Post by nosy lena » Mon Jun 20, 2016 5:50 pm

domino harvey wrote:Sure, us stateside people will let you know in eight months when our Asendia packages finally arrive from Amazon
mine actually arrived today but my heart sank when i saw the package,

Image

thankfully the set is solid and it wasn't too badly damaged.

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Big Ben
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Re: Dissent & Disruption: Alan Clarke at the BBC

#724 Post by Big Ben » Mon Jun 20, 2016 5:54 pm

Although mine did not arrive in that condition I have seen others report the same thing on Blu-Ray.com.

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domino harvey
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Re: Dissent & Disruption: Alan Clarke at the BBC

#725 Post by domino harvey » Mon Jun 20, 2016 6:12 pm

Mine arrived today in a slightly beat up box but nowhere near that condition, and the set, despite having no internal cushioning etc inside the box, was fine

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