sábado, 25 de agosto de 2012

The Full Monty Film, Class and National Identy: Re-imagining communities in the age of devolution by Julia Hallam

Film-makers in Britain in the mid-1990s showed a renewed interest in portraying working-class life, projecting images of alienation and crisis amidst landscapes of industrial recession and economic decline. Such films as Raining Stones (Ken Loach, 1994), Trainspotting (Danny Boyle, 1995), Twin Town (Kevin Allen, 1996), Brassed Off (Mark Herman, 1996), The Full Monty (Peter Cattaneo, 1997), Nil by Mouth (Gary Oldman, 1997) and Twenty Four Seven (Shane Meadows, 1997) are shot in locations where the men of the community traditionally worked in heavy industries such as steel, shipbuilding, mining and industrial manufacture. These films re-imagine the ‘working-classness’ of their characters through their relation to consumption rather than production, purchasing power rather than labour power, evoking memories of an earlier cycle of British films with a similar emphasis on class and regional identity:
the New Wave of the 1960s.1 Contemporary British films reiterate this approach; working-class identity is depicted not as the collective political unity of a group in society but as a site for exploring the personal stagnation, alienation and social marginalisa­tion of their (primarily) white male characters.

As well as sharing a range of thematic preoccupations, several of these films interconnect at a number of other levels. Thus Robert Carlyle, who played Stevie in Riff-Raff (Ken Loach, 1991), has major roles in Trainspotting and The Full Monty. Ewan McGregor plays Renton in Trainspotting and the romantic interest in Brassed Off, while Danny Boyle and Andrew MacDonald produced both Trainspotting and Twin Town. Four of the films are based on stories by writers with strong local connections. Trainspotting is adapted from a cult novel by the Scottish writer Irvine Welsh, the scriptwriters of The Full Monty and Brassed Off are both Yorkshiremen, and Kevin Allen, who wrote and directed Twin Town, is a native of South Wales. But beyond these asso­ciative elements, the films share another less visible aspect; all construct specific localities and communities, their narratives engaging with situations and events that are a direct consequence of the socio-economic realities of the places in which they are set.
And all owe a debt to these places because projects and schemes created through local regeneration initiatives to attract film and media production to these areas have provided financial support for these productions.

While it is too early to know if these thematic preoccupations are merely a short-term cycle or indicative of longer-term trends, they deserve our attention. In this chapter, I will explore the relationship between film content, local production initiatives and recent changes in film and moving image cultural policies, and especially the influence of these policies on the kinds of films that are being made in Britain today. Significantly for my argument here, a number of recent British films are set in localities where urban regeneration schemes are in operation: The Full Monty and its popular forerunner Brassed Off are based in an area of Yorkshire that received European structural funds to aid redevelopment; Trainspotting and Twin Town are similarly located on the outer fringes of Edinburgh and Swansea.
In areas hit by the severe loss of employment in traditional manufacturing indus­tries, innovative schemes focused on the cultural industries - including film and television production - have played an important role in economic development and restructuring since the mid-1980s, often in partnership with local authorities seeking to attract entrepreneurial skills and inward investment to their regions. This has stimulated new kinds of business activity and renewed identifications with place.2 At the local level, the chal­lenge is to ensure that the benefits from these projects feed into training, education and access schemes that attempt to ensure that any benefits gained from these new industries are equally spread and redistributed throughout the area.

Policies initiated in the late 1980s to promote the development of small independent production companies have been central to this process, partic­ularly in areas where the average standard of living is significantly below that for the European Union as a whole. Crucially for this discussion, a number of recent British films (including the most successful film of recent times, The Full Monty) are set in localities that provide financial incentives for film production assisted by various forms of European and regional funding. Brassed Off benefited from production funding channelled through the Yorkshire Media Production Agency, The Full Monty was assisted by the Yorkshire Screen Commission, and Twin Town was aided by the Welsh Film Commission and Sgrin.3 Trainspotting indirectly benefited from the Glasgow Film Fund’s successful support for Boyle and MacDonald’s first film, Shallow Grave (1994).

For local authorities, the issue of re-imagining their communities reaches far beyond the glossy publicity campaigns that heralded the renaissance of cities like Glasgow in the 1980s (which was epitomised by the catchphrase, ‘Glasgow’s Miles Better’). The development of image- and communication based industries plays an important role in modernising the post-industrial infrastructure of cities and their hinterlands where manufacturing no longer provides a sufficient means of employment for the majority of the working population. Modernisation is increasingly seen as dependent upon local tech­nical skills and a production base that has direct links with global markets and businesses, a route that emphasises connections with Europe and down­plays the metropolitan centre. This disaffiliation from the Anglo-centric axis of British national life is finding a political focus in the newly established parliaments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (and potentially in England, through the development of Regional Assemblies).4 Arguably, it is also finding a cultural focus through media production schemes that enable film and media producers to emphasise the specificity of place, projecting national and regional identities which question and contest stereotypical constructions of ‘Britishness’.

The devolution of film production

National and regional initiatives to decentralise British film production are taking place in a market for moving image products increasingly dominated by a small number of multinational companies whose operations transcend national boundaries. Globalisation creates economic and structural constraints on the sale and distribution of moving image products that some commentators believe are now beyond the control of any single nation state’s cultural policies.5 The British Film Institute (BFI) seems unquestioningly to support this view, commentating in its yearbook that ‘filmmaking these days is an international business where the question of national origin is of increasingly marginal interest’.6 Such a stance tends to side-step the growing role of the cultural industries at the regional level in post-industrial societies throughout Europe which are seeking to develop their own urban regeneration policies and initiatives.
In spite of the homogenising tendencies of the global image market, it is not possible to eradicate or transcend differ­ence at the national and regional level. The case for the local or regional economy as the key unit of production within the global network has been forcefully made by the ‘flexible specialisation’ thesis, which stresses the importance of localised production complexes. Kevin Robins argues that crucial to the success of local production initiatives are strong local institu­tions and infrastructures; relations of trust based on face to face contact; a ‘productive’ community historically rooted in a particular place; and a strong sense of local attachment and pride.7 But analysts like Robins are wary of idealising the local, which, he maintains, is a structurally relational and therefore relative concept. If the local and regional once had significance in relation to the national sphere, that meaning and significance is now being recast in the context of globalisation. The ‘flexible specialisation’ thesis is not straightforwardly about the renaissance of local cultures; these are overshadowed by an emergent world culture and by the resilience of national and nationalist cultures.8

Against this background of global incorporation, many European coun­tries are seeking to retain a measure of control over their cultural industries by developing initiatives that aim to reap economic benefits at the national and regional level. In the UK, for example, arguments for the devolution of political power to the national centres of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales were augmented throughout the 1980s by demands for the devolution of funding and responsibility for cultural activities. Following the publica­tion of the Wilding Report in 1989, the Arts Council of Great Britain was disbanded.
In its place, the Arts Council of Wales and the Arts Council of Scotland were established as autonomous bodies funded respectively by the Welsh and Scottish Offices, while the Arts Council of England devolved many of its financial responsibilities to ten Regional Arts Boards (RABs). Within this context, the BFI became increasingly dissatisfied with the low priority given to the development of national and regional film and video culture on the Arts Council and RAB agendas. Many RABs remained committed to developing and expanding experimental forms of image production in the interests of sustaining a diverse film, video and electronic media culture, but the BFI adopted a more pragmatic approach that increas­ingly sought to build partnerships with broadcasters and the mainstream film industry.

By the early 1990s, the BFI was attempting to set up a network of media development agencies that would not only deliver the BFI’s cultural remit, but also expand the economic base of the media industries outside London. But in some areas blighted by recession and economic decline enterprising local authorities (and some RABs) had already seized the initiative, based on their own analysis of cities and regions hit by similar problems in Europe and the United States. Part of their project was to change the international image of such cities as Sheffield, Liverpool and Glasgow from associations with dereliction and decay to vibrant, modern environments offering new industrial provision and all the cultural benefits of living in a major city. Following the North American example, enterprising local authorities established film liaison offices to encourage location filming in their areas, based on the dictum that ‘there’s no finer publicity than that generated by a major motion picture’.9

The rationale behind this initiative was to boost tourism and stimulate demand for production skills. The hope was that this would stem the drain of skilled technicians from the area by providing employment opportunities for those shed from regional broadcasting organisations, as well as providing additional income for the service industries. For local authorities and their partners, the issue is not one of producing local programmes for local audiences, but of developing a viable media industry that can sell its products in the global marketplace to national and international distributors and exhibitors.10

In Liverpool, for example, a film liaison office was established at the end of the 1980s jointly funded by Mersey Television and the City Council.11 This was followed in 1992 by the setting up of the Moving Image Development Agency (MIDA), which has limited funds to stimulate script development and offer completion incentives to producers. Similar projects were initiated in Glasgow and in Yorkshire with the help of European structural funds.12 The success of these commercially orientated production schemes, followed by eligibility of support for film production finance from the National Lottery since 1995, has strengthened the strong commercial orientation of national and regional initiatives.

Steve McIntyre provides a succinct overview of these developments, pointing out that the independent cultural (as opposed to industrial) production sector in the late 1980s became preoccupied with issues of training, in part attempting to open up opportunities for those denied access to the means of film production. But this shift in emphasis was also funding led, particularly in areas where considerable sums of public money were available via European structural funds for training initiatives. The casualisation of the broadcasting industry, accompanied by a collapse in the training infrastructure, has increasingly allied these small independent companies to the broadcasting industries.
This effectively completes what McIntyre sees as the long march from the radical political manifestos that initially characterised the film and video workshop movement in the 1970s and early 1980s to their industrial and commercial incorporation.11

The challenge for media development agencies is to maintain a commit­ment to access and diversity and to ensure that the benefits accrued from commercial production initiatives are redistributed through training, educa­tion and access projects, thus enabling a range of people to participate in the financial and cultural benefits of these schemes.14 These agencies operate in a climate governed by competition and commercial constraints. It is there­fore interesting to note that one consequence of these strategies in the mid-1990s was the creation of a distinctive body of popular films that offer a sustained critique of contemporary British life, albeit primarily from a white male perspective.15 There is of course no necessary relationship between the kinds of images seen on the screen and where and how they are produced. Even so, these new opportunities for film-making stimulated film-makers to create a body of films with a well-defined sense of place that address the relationship between class and consumption in terms that resonated not only with British audiences but also internationally.

Re-imagined communities

The success of such films as Trainspotting, Twin Town, Brassed Off and The Full Monty beyond the international festival circuit has added to the substantial reputation of British films abroad established by film-makers like Ken Loach, Stephen Frears and Mike Leigh Loach, Stephen Frears and Mike Leigh. These productions share a similar range of thematic preoccupations, projecting critical images of contemporary life in post-Thatcherite Britain to international audiences.16 The films reflect the increasing eclecticism of British film style as it evolved during the 1980s, drawing on a range of codes and conventions associated with European and American independent traditions, television drama, documen­tary practice, art cinema, advertising and music video, as well as home-grown and Hollywood genres.17 Although formally and aesthetically diverse, these films all foreground a sense of place in their use of location shooting and vernacular dialogue. They also deal with themes of masculine anxiety and alienation through the economic disenfranchisement and conse­quent social impotence of their male characters. The issue of unemployment and its effects is, however, treated very differently from film to film.

In some ways, the characters in these films have little in common other than their masculine gender and a shared sense of powerlessness. Working-class identity is depicted as fractured and split by new alliances between workers and owners in Brassed Off, by drug taking as a form of shared cama­raderie in Trainspotting, by crime and revenge in Twin Town, and by the changing economic relations between men and women in The Full Monty. The style of these films is also very different: the most successful film at the box office, The Full Monty, has the nostalgic flavour of an Ealing comedy. It is about a group of men pulling together in times of trouble to overcome adversity, appealing to a rather stereotyped image of working-class life that was common in the 1940s: people laughing and joking together through hard times. Brassed Off similarly combines a political message within a romantic-comedy format, evoking an affectionate if somewhat sentimental image of a community disintegrating as the privatisation programme at the local coal mine creates mass redundancy among the workforce.

In spite of their address to contemporary issues, at the heart of the appeal of both films is a somewhat nostalgic sentimentality. The Full Monty begins with a promotional documentary for Sheffield that depicts it as an early 1970s boomtown. The colliery band at the narrative centre of Brassed Off only survives in the real world with the help of an Arts Council grant. In the film, keeping the band together and making sure it continues to play symbolises a rather desperate attempt to maintain the collective dignity of the community and keep its values intact.
These sympathetic portrayals of working-class men as physically redundant in the workplace and emotion­ally retarded in the home create an image of masculinity in crisis that emphasises the non-aggressive, non-threatening aspirations of the group. In spite of the failure of trade unions and political institutions to maintain a sense of unity and self-worth, male camaraderie and togetherness are given positive values: both films have up-beat, ‘feel-good’ endings based on the abilities of the group to perform collectively, not as workers but as entertainers 18

This nostalgic construction of working-class values is a reminder of the kind of British films that were popular at the box office when the UK had a more robust home-grown commercial film industry. A hankering for the spirit of Ealing ghosts both these bittersweet comedies, the Ealing of that brief postwar period when a focus on whimsical characters in small commu­nities pulling together for the common good projected an idealised image of a nation united by adversity. The characters in The Full Monty seem to yearn for the stability of that imagined postwar world: for secure employment, the weekly pay packet, Saturday night at the working-men’s club and most of all, perhaps, for a clearer demarcation of gender roles between men and women. Their response to adversity is a reluctant acceptance of interdepen­dence, a value traditionally associated with respectable working-class identity.
Beneath the humour and the rather predictable plot structure, The Full Monty, like some of the other films in this cycle, scores a political point but here the message is blunted by nostalgia rather than sharpened by satire.

Trainspotting and Twin Town are rather different kinds of film — and less like each other than at first seems apparent. They are anarchic, nihilistic comedies that both thematically and formally seek to overturn rather than recycle stereotypes. The social-realist style traditionally associated with images of working-class identity is eschewed in favour of heightened visu- ality which, in the case of Twin Town, caricatures its characters in the interest of demolishing the hackneyed images of what English speaking Welsh film-makers call the Welsh nationalist ‘Taffia’.19 The opening mono­logue to Twin Town is a declaration of this intent: ‘Rugby. Tom Jones. Male voice choirs. Shirley Bassey. Snowdonia. Prince of Wales. Daffodils. Sheep shaggers. Coal. Now if that’s your idea of Welsh culture, you can’t blame us for trying to liven the place up can you?’20 Set in Swansea, the South Wales city immortalised by Dylan Thomas as an ‘ugly, lovely town’, the film irreverently replaces his phrase with one of its own — ‘pretty shitty city’.
In its use of caricature and satire, the film pays homage to contemporary American independent film-makers like the Coen Brothers. In placing the severed head of a favourite pet dog in the bed of the corrupt local club owner and drug dealer, it creates a pastiche of The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972). But for all its anarchic posturing, at its heart Twin Town is a genre piece, a tale of warring families, corrupt policemen, drugs, murder and revenge.

Trainspotting shows a similar preoccupation with the destruction of stereo­typical representations of Scottish identity. Surreal images and a sporadically frenetic editing style married to a fast-paced soundtrack construct a fantasy world of heroin addiction.21 The episodic narration creates a contemporary picaresque based around the drug-taking habits of Renton and his friends, who career from the hedonistic pleasures of heroin to the agonies of with­drawal. But within this frantic journey, the film takes time to comment acidly on what it means to be Scottish, white and working class in the 1990s.
A key scene in the film is a trip to the countryside instigated by Renton’s friend Tommy, who is drug free at this point in the narrative. The train drops the four friends in an isolated spot of peat bog and distant moun­tains, an image of Scotland promoted by the tourist board in glossy magazines aimed at the middle classes. Filmed as grotesque, the picture postcard setting inspires fear and loathing in Renton, Spud and Sick Boy. It also provokes Renton into giving voice to his feelings on his Scottish identity:

The English are just wankers. We’re colonised by wankers. Effete arseholes. What does that make us? The lowest of the fuckin’ low, the scum of the earth. Ah don’t hate the English. They just git oan wi’ the shite thuv got. Ah hate the Scots.

What unites Trainspotting, Twin Town, Brassed Off and The Full Monty is their re-articulation of working-class identity through its relation to national and regional stereotypes and geographical marginalisation. The changing landscape of working-class poverty and economic decline is most visibly apparent in The Full Monty; Gaz and his friends steal from the empty factories where once they worked, while their wives work full-time, one of them in the new hypermarket. In Brassed Off, local businesses close as the new pit owners lay off increasing numbers of the workforce and poverty bites into the reserves of the local population. In Twin Town and Trainspotting, the relationship between work (or the lack of it) and consumption is posed somewhat differently. The market in jobs and drugs created by a culture of chronic unemployment provides the hook for a narrative of vengeance in Twin Town. The Lewis brothers, aimless drifters on probation who spend their time joyriding and taking drugs, live in a caravan site on the edge of Swansea. Employed by a corrupt local club owner and drug dealer to repair a roof, their father falls and breaks his leg. The twins demand recompense, but in the ‘black’ economy there are no insurance or compensation schemes to cushion the effects of injury.

The relationship between work and consumption is posed most starkly in Trainspotting. Renton stakes out the choices in the now famous soliloquy at the beginning of the film:

Choose life. Choose a job, choose a career, choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, electrical can openers ... But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life, I chose somethin’ else.
And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got heroin?22

    In a society where identity is based not on who you are or where you come from but on what you consume, heroin is the ultimate consumer product. If what you consume is the hallmark of your identity, socially sanctioned goods and objects become a sign of social conformity; taking drugs is one way of demonstrating personal alienation and a rejection of establishment values.

Contrasting views

  The success of these films and the attendant publicity that followed in their wake unmasks conflicts of interest between media development agencies and other local initiatives. In Wales, for example, Twin Town packed local cinemas but created an outcry from those concerned with projecting more traditional images of Wales. Dave Berry, the Welsh cinema historian, argues that Twin Town demeans Wales and its people because it suggests that ‘tradi­tions such as community loyalty, decency and camaraderie, a shared love of culture, music and rugby are all redundant in an avaricious world’.23 For Berry, the film is riddled with negative attitudes towards the Welsh and their preoccupations, a position denied by the director and screenwriter Kevin Allen who claims that the film is ‘an acid love-letter to my home town’.24 In his defence of the film, he argues that it could be set in any contemporary British city - drugs and crime happen everywhere.
The film uses a rich amalgam of South Wales dialect, Welsh language phrases and familiar swear words combined with the irreverent treatment of distinctively
Welsh signifiers, such as a rugby ball stuffed with bags of cocaine and the vandalising of the rugby pitch by the Lewis twins. Even so, if other local signifiers replaced the details of language and imagery, they would still produce the same meaning. Twin Town, like Trainspotting, treats images of national identity as impoverished signifiers of a bankrupt culture that has difficulty adjusting to forces of modernisation and change.

The film caused some concern at the Welsh Tourist Board, where an internal memorandum was circulated to key personnel advising them to ‘avoid whingeing’ about Twin Town', as far as any one knew, Trainspotting had not been detrimental to the tourist trade in Edinburgh. In spite of the nega­tive projection of Wales, it may actually boost trade.25 In Sheffield, a similar conflict emerged as a number of councillors and influential local business groups publicly criticised the image of Sheffield as a city in decline in The Full Monty. Asserting that the city has much to be proud of, they pointed out that Sheffield produces 70 per cent of the country’s engineering and specialist steels, unemployment has fallen below 9 per cent, it has a lively cultural quarter and would soon be home to the National Museum for Popular Music.
They accused the film-makers of replaying old myths and stereotypes about the North, preferring the 'Room at the Top' image of dirt, grime and economic depression, rather than the city’s modern science parks, data processing complexes, clean rivers, smokeless air and new, brick-built houses.26 (In fact, there is a glimpse of this world in The Full Monty - Gaz’s ex-wife lives with her new partner in a modern, brick-built detached house on a private housing estate. It is depicted as a rather cold and cheerless place, a dormitory suburb with no sense of community.)

In their analysis of cultural policy and urban regeneration schemes in western Europe, Franco Bianchini and Michael Parkinson point out that the experience of cultural policy-led regeneration strategies, particularly when focused on city centre prestige projects, can lead to increased tensions between inner and outer areas, tourists and residents.27 The effects of making films in impoverished communities can be equally divisive; Grimethorpe, for example, the site of the fictional Grimley in Brassed Off, has seen few benefits. The once thriving community is blighted by unem­ployment, while drug-related crime, arson, theft and teenage pregnancy are all on the increase in spite of every form of text-book partnership between local people, government and industry.28 Irvine Welsh, the author of the novel on which Trainspotting is based, points to a similar situation in Edinburgh where more than twenty years of booming tourism have failed to improve conditions of life on the ‘schemies’ — the city’s outer housing estates.29

The working-class films of the mid-1990s occupy an ambiguous cultural terrain. They celebrate locality, yet at the same time they commodify the cultural identities of economically marginalised communities, re-packaging their experiences for sale in the global marketplace. Will those who live in these places reap any benefits from these production initiatives in the longer term?
As Steve McIntyre has pointed out, the beneficiary of these schemes appears to be the broadcaster or film distributor rather than the local community. Blairite cultural policy has continued this trend, emphasising the commercial aspects of film production and largely ignoring cultural issues such as access and diversity.30 The influx of money from the lottery poses McIntyre’s question even more starkly: to what extent should public money be used to subsidise already wealthy industries?3' But the various media development agencies are in no doubt about their function, and have undeniably played a part in ‘post-modernising’ the cultural landscapes of such cities as Sheffield, Liverpool and Glasgow.
These areas provide new talent and (occasionally) innovative products for the voracious appetites of the film and media industries. Whether these policies will create new oppor­tunities of sustainable employment for those who bear the brunt of economic change will only become apparent once European funding ends. And whether the devolution of film production can contribute in the longer term to the development of a diverse film and media culture that projects the experiences of Britain’s multifarious communities remains a challenge to policy makers, media development agencies and the film-makers which they support.


1 For an analysis of working-class identity in New Wave films, see J. Hill, Sex, Class and Realism: British Cinema 1956-1963, London, BFI, 1986.
2 For a theoretical overview of these developments, see S. Hall, ‘The question of cultural identity’, in S. Hall, D. David and T. McGrew (eds) Modernity and Its Futures, Oxford, Polity Press, 1992.
3 Ffilm Cymru was established in 1989 to enable the production of low-budget feature films; it was followed by the Welsh Film Council (Cyngor Ffilm Cymru) in 1992. Sigrin was formally constituted in April 1997. Funded by the Arts Council of Wales, the BFI, BBC Wales, Cardiff Bay Development Corporation, S4C, TAC and the Welsh Development Agency, it is responsible for ‘the formulation of a strategic vision for the development of the industrial and cultural aspects of [film, television and new media] to their full potential’. Sigrin publicity material, 1999, p. 2.
4 Initiatives to establish nine Regional Development Agencies began during New Labour’s first year in government (1997): it is envisaged that these institutions will contribute to the formation of Regional Assemblies in England. See P. Lynch, ‘New Labour and the English Regional Development Agencies: devolution as evolution’, in Regional Studies, 1999, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 73-8.
5 For an overview of these developments, see K. Robins and D. Morley, Spaces of Identity: Global Media, Electronic Landscapes and Cultural Boundaries, London, Routledge, 1995, pp. 105-24.
6 BFI Yearbook, London, BFI Publishing, 1998, p. 23.
7 K. Robins, ‘Tradition and translation: national culture in its global context’, in J. Corner and S. Harvey (eds) Enterprise and Heritage: Crosscurrents of National Culture, London, Routledge, 1991, pp. 28-31.
8 Robins and Morley, op. cit., pp. 117-18.
9 ‘Justifying a Film Commission’s existence’, Locations, Fall 1992, p. 14. Quoted by T. Brown in ‘Everytown, Nowhere City: Location Filming and the British City’, unpublished MA dissertation, British Film Institute (undated). The British Tourist Authority now publishes an official ‘movie map’ that aims to 'combine two thriving industries and the leisure pursuits of the cinema and days out ... to lure visitors away from the “honeypot” tourist centres to less explored areas of Britain’. See J. Meikle, ‘Movies redraw the tourist map’, Guardian, 16 June 1999, p. 12.
10 For a full discussion of this point, see K. Robins and J. Cornford, ‘Not the London Broadcasting Corporation? The BBC and the new regionalism’, in S. Harvey and K. Robins (eds) The Regions, the Nations and the BBC, BBC Charter Review Series, London, BFI Publishing, 1993, pp. 16-17.
11 According to local estimates, Liverpool’s Film Liaison Office attracted sixty- seven film and television productions to the city in 1994, generating six million pounds in revenue and creating an estimated 150 jobs; the figures do not include any income generated from accommodating production crews and actors. See R. Gilbey, ‘Cut and print: tales of the celluloid city’, Independent (‘Metro’ section), 19 April 1995, p. 20.
12 Like Liverpool, these areas were granted ‘Objective One’ status by the European Commission, which is based on an average standard of living 75 per cent below that of the European Union as a whole.
13 S. McIntyre, ‘Art and industry: regional film and video policy in the UK’, in A. Moran (ed.) Film Policy: International, National and Regional Perspectives, Routledge, London, 1996, pp. 215—34.
14 Shane Meadows ensured that £40,000 would be invested in local projects when he signed a production contract following the success of TwentyFourSeven. See N. Spencer, ‘Interview: Shane Meadows’, Observer Review, 29 March 1998, p. 7.
15 See Paul Bucknor’s comments on the ‘whiteness’ of The Full Monty in M. Baker, ‘The missing Monty’, black filmmaker, 1998, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 14-15. 
16 Wim Wenders, for example, states ‘I don't see any other national cinema that manages to make very popular stories which are also deeply rooted in social life, in certain realities and experiences’, in The Art of Seeing: Essays and Conversations, Faber and Faber, London, 1997, p. 31. 
17 For a more detailed discussion see the chapter ‘Space, place and identity: revi- sioning social realism’, in J. Hallam with M. Marshment, Realism and Popular Cinema, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2000. 
18 Claire Monk argues that these films pose solutions to their problems through homosocial bonding, offering emotional catharsis and reassurance for a 1990s male audience. ‘Underbelly UK: the underclass film and the 1990s British cinema revival’, paper presented at Cinema, Identity, History: An International Conference on British Cinema, University of East Anglia, July 1998. See this volume, Chapter 
19, for a revised version of this paper. 19 M. Wroe, ‘Sprawling, joy-riding, hot-bed of mediocrity’, Observer, 13 April 1997, p. 16. 
20 The wording is taken from the advertising campaign; it appeared primarily on posters. 
21 Will Self is particularly critical of this expressionistic technique, claiming that it misrepresents the effects of heroin, which provokes no visions, no fantasies of surreal bliss and surrender. ‘Carry on up the hypodermic’, Observer Review, 17 February 1996, p. 6. 
22 The wording is taken from the poster.
23 Ffocws, 1997, vol. 4, no. 1, p. 3. 
24 Wroe, op. cit., p. 16.
25 Ibid.
26 See, for example, C. Pepinster, ‘Sheffield’s really a post-industrial paradise: many in the city are cross at its bleak portrayal in The Full Monty’, Independent, 7 December 1997, p. 5. 
27 F. Bianchini and M. Parkinson, Cultural Policy and Urban Regeneration: The Western European Experience, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 1993, p. 168. 
28 D. McKie, ‘Muck and brass but precious little money’, Guardian, 18 September 1997, p. 19.
29 I. Welsh, 'City tripper’, Guardian (‘G2’ section), 16 February 1996, p. 4. 
30 See A Bigger Picture, a government report on the British Film Industry compiled by the Film Policy Review Group, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, DCMSJ0285NJ, March 1998. 
31 McIntyre, op. cit., pp. 231-3. 

In: British Cinema, Past and Present. Edited by Justine Ashby and Andrew Higson. London, Rotledge, 2000, pp. 261-273.

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