‘Attack the Block’ – Youth, Stereotypes, Social Class (2011) Director Joe CornishWatch the opening sequence of ‘Attack the Block’ – how are the main charactersintroduced?How does this representation change?
‘Attack the Block’ – Youth, Stereotypes, Social Class• Opening sequence stereotypical hoodie representation.• As the film progresses the representation becomes more positive. Develops a more sympathetic representation.• The film initially represents the young people as ‘monsters’, then replaces them with actual monsters.• Is this a contrast to other ‘hoodie horror films’?
‘Attack the Block’ – Youth, Stereotypes, Social Class‘While Attack the Block has moments of hilarity, and evokes the lonelinessof ET – the fantasy, the bizarre things happening in residential streets – thisis definitely a horror film. A political horror film, far less silly than fans mayexpect. There are monsters, aliens of the sort we havent seen in thecinema for a long time."Theyre all the things that the press and people call those kids, made intoa monster. People call these kids monsters, they call them feral, they callthem animalistic, they say theyve got no morals or values and all they careabout is territory and competitiveness. So what if there was a creature thatreally was like that, and then you pitted the kids against it?“’The Observer, interview with director Joe Cornish
As one half of the Adam and Joe team from TV and radio, Joe Cornish is awitty, assured broadcaster. But Attack the Block, his debut featurefilm, which he wrote and directed, is an odd confection: a genre mash-upmarked by jarring tonal shifts.On the one hand, it’s a gritty British urban drama, played for laughs. A gangof teenage hoodies from a south London tower block are initially seenmugging a defenceless young woman (Jodie Whittaker) from theirneighbourhood. But when aliens start to threaten their block, all is forgivenand they join forces with her to fend them off.Genre-bending may be deeply fashionable these days, and tellingly EdgarWright, a master of this dark art with Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, is anexecutive producer here. But Attack the Block’s attempts to straddle horrorand comedy are doomed: it’s neither scary nor funny enough.Then there’s the vexed question of that mugging: it’s all too quickly sweptaside as Cornish tries to re-cast his young heroes as sweet and mischievous.Their apologies to Whittaker ring false: they were as scared as she was(yeah, right); they’d never have targeted her had they known she lived ontheir block. Tell it to the judge, kids.David Gritten – The Telegraph
These two articles have very different points of view.The first looks at how the kids are pitted against actual monsters, thishumanises them and allows them to be seen as more thanviolent, destructive characters.The second challenges this, stating the film glosses over the mugging anddoesn’t really resolve the issues of violence surrounding the group.Which of the articles do you agree with? Why?
Task 1• Add Attack the Block to the grid you have created before.• This grid answer the following questions:• Who are the protagonists?• Who are the antagonists (monsters)?• What are the main representations of youth?• What are the key scenes that show these representations?
Entertainment and Utopia, RichardDyer• Film theorist Richard Dyer argues that one of the functions of entertainment is utopianism:• „Entertainment offers the image of “something better”…the sense that things could be better…Entertainment does not present models of utopian worlds…Rather the utopianism is contained in the feelings it embodies.‟
Utopian Categories of Entertainment• Reality: Utopian Solution:• Exhaustion Energy• Scarcity Abundance• Dreariness Intensity• Manipulation Transparency• Isolation/Fragmentation Community• Dyer argues these categories reflect „temporary answers to the inadequacies of the society‟.
Watch the ending of ‘Attack the Block’. How can yourelate Dyer’s theory of entertainment and utopia?(1:00:00)