As the nation celebrates 100 years of cinema, Scotland is seeing ﬁlm history in the
making. From the Oscar-winning Bravehearttoabroodingtale of Glasgow gangland, Small Faces, the Scottish movie industry is burgeoning. Over the next ﬁvepagesl'li‘e Listlooks at the best of what is to come and some cinematic stoaters from the past
., 1/. _ ,, , _. I Small Faces, blg talent: (clockwise lrom left) Joseph McFadden, Iain Robertson. Stephen Duffy and Kevin Mex.“
6 The List 5-18 Apr 1996
In the wake of Trainspotting comes another powerful Scottish movie with enough attitude to prove it’s not a fix. Fiona Shepherd meets Kevin McKidd and Stephen Duffy, stars of Small Faces.
hat‘s worth lighting for? Justice. Equality. Basic human rights. Loved ones. Identity. Power. Status. Money. Territory. In Small Faces, Gillies Mackinnon’s masterful. evocative Glaswegian rites of passage film set in l968, opposing gangs of youths tight for some of these things — mainly territory — and individuals tight for identity.
It‘s not a new theme for cinema. Instead it seems to be an evergreen one. In Toy Story, the battleground is a child’s bedroom. In The War Of The Buttons, youngsters turn after-school scraps into tactical manoeuvres. ln Alan Clark’s television screenplay The Firm. gainfully employed young men turn hooligan at the weekend to beat the crap out of other gainfully employed young men who happen to support a different football team. In Small Faces. the three MacLean brothers and their widowed mother struggle to get to grips with what life in a Govanhill tenement throws at them.
The eldest brother Bobby approaches his 20s without any social. educational or emotional grounding at all — his life is running with the Glen gang. The middle brother Alan. played by
Small Faces latches on to what the 605 was about, and it’s not people with beads in their hair.’
High Road’s Joseph McFadden. nurtures his artistic talent and romantic inclinations. At thirteen. the youngest sibling -— portrayed by fourteen-year-old lain Robertson — could go either way. The tragi-comic tale of their growing pains. seen mostly through the eyes of Lex. is like Stand By Me meets Quadrophem'a. The bottom line is. life’s a battlefield, so gird your loins.
ln Glasgow in the 1960s, when community spirit was still an oft-cited value, whole neighbourhoods were being uprooted. During the Gorbals clearances. a sense of belonging and domain had to be sought by another route. So razor gangs fought over some spurious notion of territory. The lack of gaining any tangible ground is depicted in Small Faces every time someone arrives on the edge of an undeveloped plot of land bounded by a wall on which is daubed in large letters You Are Now Entering Tongland. And what exactly is Tongland‘? An urban wasteground under a