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 age is also important to the forms and conventions
The forms and conventions for social of social realism. Most films use young teenagers and
realism. The main forms and conventions young adults from 13 – 20. ‘Kidulthood’, ‘Kes’, ‘Sweet
are; The use of unknown actors. This Sixteen’ and ‘This is England’ all have main characters
supports the social realism genre because between these ages.
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
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 ...
Passport to Pimlico (d. Henry Cornelius, 1949). The
inhabitants of a London street discover buried treasure
and documents proving they are really citizens of
Target for Tonight (1941), directed Burgundy. When the government tries to claim the
The first noticed Social Realism by Harry Watt. An RAF bomber crew treasure for the Crown, the Burgundians declare their
film in Britain was Rescued by receives its orders and proceeds
Rover (1905) on a successful bombing raid over
Thunderbolt (1952), directed by
Spare Time (1939), Spare Time is This Happy Breed (1944),
Charles Crichton, When a small rail
an incredible portrait of the post directed by David Lean. The
branch line is threatened with closure,
war working class and an early lives of an ordinary lower
a group of villagers band together to
illustration of Humphrey Jennings' middle-class London family
run it themselves, in the face of
genius. between the two world wars.
opposition from a bus company.
All information on both timeline slides is from http://www.screenonline.org.uk/
Social Realism Timeline ...
High Hopes (1988), directed
Thunderbolt (1952), directed by Mike Leigh. Working-class This Is England is a 2006 drama film
by couple Shirley and Cyril are in
Kes is a 1969 British film written and directed by Shane
Charles Crichton, When a conflict over whether they
from director Ken Loach Meadows. About a young boy who’s
small rail branch line is should have children, their
and producer Tony Garnett. father died in the Falkland’s war and
threatened with closure, a problems with 'yuppies'
About the struggles of a moving into the
has trouble at school comes across a
group of villagers band
young boy with no neighbourhood and out pricing group of skinheads and is accepted
together to run it themselves,
aspirations but has hope them, and the advent of Cyril's into their group
in the face of opposition from
when he brings up a Kestrel ageing mother's seventieth
a bus company.
Room at the Top (1958),
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960), Secrets & Lies is a Fish Tank is a 2009 British drama
directed by Jack Clayton An
directed by Karel Reisz. Factory worker and lad- 1996 British film film directed by Andrea Arnold.
ambitious young working-class
about-town Arthur Seaton is having an affair with directed by Mike About a fifteen year old girl who
man moves to the wealthy town
the wife of a workmate. She becomes pregnant
of Warnley to work for the Leigh. The film is has trouble at school and problems
and he starts to go out with a younger woman,
council. He pursues the about an adopted with friends. Her mother brings
Doreen. Eventually he decides to settle down
daughter of the local black woman finding back a new man into the house
with Doreen, but insists he will never conform.
industrialist, but also falls in love her real mother after who promised to change
with a married French woman. her adopted mother everything.
He finds he has to choose
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 Documentarist Humphrey Jennings had been responsible for consensus-building works like Listen
referred to the British industry's to Britain (1942) and Spare Time (1939), which, looking at the British at play, forged a 'new
longstanding rivalry with Hollywood in iconography', influencing the 1950s Free Cinema documentary movement and the 1960s British
terms of 'realism and tinsel'. Balcon, in New Wave. One of the strongest images of post-war British cinema is that of factory worker Arthur
his position as head of Ealing Studios, 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
would become a key figure in the
the 'Angry Young Men' of 1950s theatre, the verisimilitude of Italian Neo-realism and the youth
emergence of a national cinema
appeal of the French New Wave. Amid the smokestacks and terraces of regional life, Room at the
characterised by stoicism and Top (1958), The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962), and A Kind of Loving (1962)
verisimilitude. Combining the brought wide shots and plain speaking to stories of ordinary Britons negotiating the social
objective temper and aesthetics of the structures of post-war Britain.
documentary movement with the Thanks to the relaxation of censorship, characters had sex lives, money worries, social problems.
stars and resources of studio British 'auteurs' like Karel Reisz, Tony Richardson and John Schlesinger dealt with prostitution,
filmmaking, 1940s British cinema abortion, homosexuality, alienation and relationship problems. Here were factory workers, office
made a stirring appeal to a mass underlings, dissatisfied wives, pregnant girlfriends, runaways, the marginalised, poor and
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 There is the obvious contrast between the colour of the
trailer where as ‘This is England’s’ titles come right trailers. ‘Passport to Pimlico’ was made way before colour
at the end. ‘This is England’ uses the reviews to T.V so it is in black and white. The music on ‘This is England’
show how well it did. ‘Passport to Pimlico’ doesn’t changes when a new main character is introduced into the
use any of this. Both films use a voice over. trailer. The mood is then changed which is very effective.
‘Passport to Pimlico’ uses it pretty much through ‘Passport to Pimlico’ has a bit of old fashioned music at the
out the whole trailer. ‘This is England’ uses bits of beginning and then fades out then the rest is dialogue from
sound from the film which is their voice over. 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
The Crown Film Unit was an
Woodfall is the force behind many of the Film4 Productions is a British film production company
organisation within the British
films that transformed the British cinema owned by Channel 4. The company has been responsible for
Government's Ministry of Information
into one of the most dynamic in the world: backing a large number of films made in the United
during World War II. Formerly the GPO
Look Back in Anger, Saturday Night and Kingdom. The company's first production was Walter,
Film Unit it became the Crown Film Unit
Sunday Morning, A Taste of Honey, The directed by Stephen Frears, which was released in 1982.
in 1940. Its remit was to make films for
the general public in Britain and abroad. Knack...and How to Get It, Kes, The
Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, and Before 1998, the company was identified as Channel Four
Its output included short information
more. These films not only popularized in Films or FilmFour International. Later, the outfit was re-
and documentary films, as well as longer
branded as FilmFour, to coincide with the launch of a new
drama-documentaries, as well as a few British cinema technical developments such
Digital TV channel of the same name. The company cut its
straight drama productions. The Crown as the use of real locations and
budget and staff significantly in 2002, due to mounting
Film Unit continued to produce films, as synchronously recorded sound, they also
losses, and was re-integrated into the drama department of
part of the Central Office of Information introduced an astounding new class of British Channel 4.
(COI), until it was disbanded in 1952. actors: Albert Finney, Rita Tushingham, Tom
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crown_Fil http://www.filmlinc.com/wrt/onsale07/woodf http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film4
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, Billy Elliot used the song ‘A Town Called
County Durham, a former mining village. As Malice’ by The Jam . The soundtrack was
Easington Colliery closed in 1983 the mining famous before the film was out. Using
scenes were filmed at the Ellington and such a famous song is a good way to
Lynemouth colliery in Northumberland, with market the film because when people
some filming in Dawdon and Newcastle upon hear it they will know its the Billy Elliot
Tyne. The producers used over 400 Easington soundtrack.
people as extras.
•“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 Our Initial Ideas ...
would use a company like Revolver
We have thought about themes and what to do for
Entertainment or Optimum
Releasing. Revolver Entertainment
distributed ‘Kidulthood’ and We have thought about a young drug dealer trying
Optimum Releasing distributed to clean up his life and start to straighten up.
‘This is England’. They will be A young teenager falls into the wrong crowd after
interested in our film idea because being a good student and person. They then
it will pick up on present issues influence him and he becomes violent and drug
and political views. It will also be obsessed.
aimed at 15-25 year olds which is a
A young teenager who’s father dies in the Iraq war,
very good market as they go to the
struggles to deal with life without a father figure
and how they and their mother cope.