This year's Edinburgh Film Festival retrospective throws a light on the late Alan Clarke. Words Alan Morrison
If it can be argued that Nr/ By Mouth was the best British film of I997, it's a shame that the most notable influence on Gary Oldman's directorial style wasn't around to wrtness its success.
Alan Clarke died in I990 after having krck-started the acting careers of Oldman, Trrn Roth, Ray Winstone and several others rn a series of tough social dramas made for televr5ron. In films like Scum, The Firm and Road, he gave a voice to those unrepresented on screen by the class system. People the camera normally crosses the street to avord
Born near Liverpool rn I935, Clarke only made three frlms specifically for the crnema -- a second version of Scum (after the BBC banned his first effort), the bizarre snooker mUSical Br/Iy The Krd And The Green Bar'ze Vamp/re, and tha, Sue And Bob Too, a bawdy comedy about drsaffected Inhabitants of a northern housing estate
Hrs TV 'plays', however, are astonishrng, comrng over lrke short, sharp shocks to the nervous system Therr very SUbJGCI matter COurts controversy — Borstal lrfe (Scwn), Nazr skinheads Made In Brita/n), de-sensrtrsed sectarran murders in Northern Ireland (EIephant), organised football thugs The Firm) — but Clarke never rests on controversy alone It's hrs unsentrrnentalrsed approach, peppered with harsh dialogue and full-on performances, that gives hrs work an edge
'I think of myself as an Alan Clarke actor, always have,’ says Trrn Roth, who stars as skrnhead Trevor in Made In Brrtarn ’He turned me mm a film actor, He saw that rn me and he grabbed rt He had a huge impact on everybody he IOUChed — actors, technrcrans, everybody Any actor who worked wrth hrrrr felt rnc‘redrble Iciyalty to hrrn '
Roth, lrke Gary c ldrnan last year, has drawn from past experiences with Clarke when mak- ing hrs drrectorral debut
The War Zone, adapted from Alexander Stuart's novel about farnrly strife in remote
A TOUCH OF CLASS
Clarke gave a voice to those unrepresented on screen by the class system. People the
Devon Roth will he in camera normally Edinburgh to discuss Clarke's legacy rn a crosses the
special event alongside Ray \‘Vrns‘tone trnerno- rable as 'The Daddy' rn Scum)
'Nothrng would have happened in my life, the way it's happened, without Alan,’ Roth adds ’I wouldn't have gone to the States, I wouldn't be directing now, lthrnk the most rrnportant thing about Alan was that he really cared about poor people, about working class peOple, and the stones he was telling. He never strayed Everything that he made was political'
street to avoid.
Made In Britain, Edinburgh Filmhouse, Wed 19 Aug. Tim Roth and Ray Winstone, Edinburgh Filmhouse, Fri 21 Aug. Alan Clarke, edited by Richard Kelly, is published by Faber 8r Faber.
22 THE UST 23 Jul-6 Aug I998
Getting beneath the skinzTim Roth in Made In Britain
Guaranteed talking points at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival.
Velvet Goldmine Odeon, Sun 16 Aug, 10pm, £6.50 (£4).
Ewan Mc Gregor and Eddie iX/ard are two 20th Century boys rn Todd Haynes' rntoxrc'atrng examination of the glam rock explosion of the 70s Radrohead, Placebo, Pulp and Teenage Fanclub are among the bands who provide a rrrrx of new songs and covers for the soundtrack A Haynes' rrrrrrr-retrc,.spec trve follows on the days after this openrng gala
Central Station Cameo, Mon 24 Aug, 8pm; Cameo, Sat 29 Aug, 5.30pm, £6.50 (£4).
There's already a bun surrounding Walter Salles' Bldllllalt feature saying rt could be thrs” year’s Cinema Paradrso Against a shrftrng social and geographical landscape, a
a nine-year-old orphan Journey
grumpy middle-aged teacher and
across Brazrl whrle an unexpected, strangely touching relationship grows between them
Seul Contre Tous
Filmhouse, Wed 19 and Thu 27 Aug, 9.30pm, £6.50 (£4).
The frlm that makes Nr/ 8y Mouth feel like S/ngrn’ In The Rain French drrec‘tor Gaspar Noe unleashes a brutal yell of angursh agarnst the world as unemployed rand unemployable) Phrlrpe Nahon leaves jdll, heats up hrs pregnant grrlfr'rend and rndulges rr‘. hardcore pornographrc
Boy from Brazil: Vinicius De Oliveira in Central Station
fantasies. Hard to stomach, but impossible to ignore, grven the current racial tension in France and across Europe.
Fear And Loathing
In Las Vegas
ABC, Lothian Road. Tue 25 Aug, 8pm, £6.50 (£4).
There was plenty of loathrng and only a little admiratron for Terry Grllram's verSIon of the Hunter S Thompson classic when it premiered in Cannes this year On Wed 26, the director erI be in town to defend hrs work, however, which stars Johnny Depp as the gonzo rourno Other Gilliam movres screen iii the City Chambers COurtyard on Fri 21, Sat 22 and Sun 23
ABC, Lothian Road, Fri 28 Aug, 8pm, £6.50 (£4).
No one except Festival Director Lizzie Francke knows what c'rnernatrc‘ delight rs‘ h:dden in the projection box not even the frIm team here at The Lrst, sponsors of thrs hot ticket event In past years Pulp Frctron and LA Conﬁdential have frrst appeared rn this hush-hush slot, It's always a sell-out, so get to the box office now