What is socialrealism?How typical are your chosen texts of their genre?
SOCIAL REALISM• A realistic portrayal of British society
Social realism in films is a text that is representative of real lifewith all its difficulties.The narrative and characters portrayed are everyday ones,usually from working class backgrounds. (How would weidentify working class characters within a scene?)Typically, films within the social realist genre are gritty, urbandramas about the struggle to survive the daily grind.Social Realism conventions
The genre uses predominantly diegetic sound, hand heldcamera work, a narrow depth of field and a linear narrative. Thismedium reflects its concept.The narrative is usually set in a time of big social change andfocuses on social injustices.The use of unknown actors. Why so?Social Realism conventions
These films deal with issues and themes such as prostitution, abortion,homosexuality, alienation and relationship problems; issues that wereseen as controversial and often left un discussed. Characters had issuessuch as, dissatisfied wives, pregnant girlfriends, runaways,homosexuals, the marginalised, the poor and the depressed. Issuesthat were not truly accepted by society.The narrative reflects on working class issues and problems. Thenarrative also represents the minority, the under represented.Social Realism conventions
• Social Realism• The most typically British of all film genres• Better than any other genre, social realism hasshown us to ourselves, pushing the boundariesin the effort to put the experiences of real Britonson the screen, and shaping our ideas of whatBritish cinema can be. While our cinema hasexperienced all the fluctuations in fortune ofHollywoods first export territory, realism hasbeen Britains richest gift to the world.
• Social Realism, also known as Socio-Realism,is an artistic movement, expressed in the visualand other realist arts, which depicts social andracial injustice, economic hardship, throughunvarnished pictures of lifes struggles; oftendepicting working class activities as heroic.
• In Film• Social Realism in cinema is a style that finds itsroots in the Italian neorealism movement knownfor naturalistic, substance-over-style works but isconsidered Britains main form of cinematicstyle.• For Britons, their early cinema used commonsocial interaction found in Dickens and ThomasHardy.• Repressive censorship during 1945-1954prevented British films from more radical socialpositions.• British Social Realism cinema has an objectivedistancing from what the characters think andfeel.• There was a revolution in British film at the endof the 1950s: working people and the realities oftheir everyday lives started to appear on the bigscreen.
Social Realism Genre• Realistic settings• Realistic events and situations• Believable filming technique• Hard luck• Working class heroes• Economic hardship• Life’s struggles• Experiences of REAL Britons• Gritty style• Urban locations
Conventions of Social realism genre?SOCIAL REALISMMISE EN SCENECAMERASHOTS/MOVEMENT EDITINGCHARACTERSTHEMES/PLOT
CHARACTERS:Social Realist films have working class heroesoften overcoming their situation and not doing just what isexpected of themCAMERA:A raw use of camera movement – lots of handheld, POV andtracking shots to get the spectator in the action with thecharactersMany close ups to connote emotionsEDITING:Cross cutting to link different characters storylinesContinuity to aid realismSlower pace to reflect real lifeSimple cuts to aid realism – no effectsConventions of the Social Realist Genre
MISE EN SCENE:Production Design: Poverty stricken locations, city, urban,built up areas, estates and tower blocks which we associatewith crimeLighting: Dim natural lighting connoting daily life and all itsmiseryCostume: Cheap, hoodies, streetwear, casual(unemployed/truanting)Space: Built up areas, busy, gangs, lots of children in onefamily, one parent familiesTHEMES/PLOT:Wanting a better life and trying to achieve itMain protagonist will better themselves or try toFocus is on young protagonist and their futureConventions of the Social Realist Genre
Modern day social realismReal locations – Filmed in Tilbury, the MardykeEstate in Havering and the A13 in Essex.The Mardyke estate was known as Havering’smost run-down estate, with a reputation forcrime and anti-social behaviour. It has sincebeen given funding for regeneration and hasbeen renamed ‘Orchard Village’.Real people– Katie Jarvis who plays Mia had never acted before. The directorwanted a girl who would not have to act and be herself. She was spotted arguingwith her boyfriend on a train station platform.Kierston Wareing, who plays Mia’s mother, grew up close to the area.Character focussed drama – This is not a big budget, Hollywood blockbuster.This is about the daily life of a set of characters. We witness the everyday, theordinary and the mundane.
BarkingDagenhamSet between London and Dagenham in an area of huge socialdeprivationTrapped between the M25 and A406, A13 and A118
•A world where all sense of community and family has disappeared•Like Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, the protagonist wants to escape•The film looks forward rather than backwards•It charts the rise and fall of hope and despair of a handful of characters•Mia does not want to follow the path of those around her•She is not content to stay where she is and let life happen to her•Fish Tank presents a bleak message. As such, it is marginalised, pushed asideand intended for a niche audience.•This is not England presenting itself to the world as a green and pleasant land.This is inward looking, exposing elements of our society that most people wouldprefer were not a version of England.•Fish Tank presents something which feels much more real.
What is social realism?1.How typical are your chosen texts of their genre?2.Explore the different representations of either womanor ethnicity within your chosen texts?3.How traditional is the narrative structure of yourchosen texts?Exam techniqueEstablish the genre/sUse the wording from the questionIdentify the genre conventionDescribe a scene justification15 minutes each text