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The director of Small Faces, Regeneration and Hideous Kinky, GILLIES MACKINNON, has returned to his roots with his excellent new film Pure.

Words: Paul Dale

hen the great filmmaker Alan (‘larke

(Sewn. 'I‘lte I-irm) died on the 24 July l‘)‘)().

he left a httge hole in the fabric of British cinema. 'l‘hat satne year a young (ilaswegian 'l’\' director and a young scouse writer paid their own quiet homage to (‘larke with a fantastic little television drama set in Liverpool. (‘farke's birthplace. Needle. scripted by Jimmy McGovern and directed by (iillies Mackinnon. dealt with one young man’s descent into heroin addiction. and to this day stands out as one of the very few masterpieces of British television drama made over the last two decades. But it took Mackinnon a long time to touch the subject of drugs again.

‘I made that film with Jimmy l2 years ago and I wasn't sure I wanted to go that way again.‘ says .‘vlackinnon. ‘l’ure isn‘t about the destructive power of drugs. it's tnore about a boy. Paul. trying to save his mother and the mother's love for her son. a love that is totally distorted by this addiction.‘

Mackinnon‘s new east London-set film is remarkable for a variety of reasons. Those that know his previous work 'l'lte ('anquext a/‘Ilie South Pole. Tllt’ Grass Arena. Small I-aees ~ will know that Mackinnon‘s films have little in common with those of contemporary British chroniclers of the underclass such as Loach. Leigh and fellow Scot Mullan among others. His movies are whimsical. ugly. desperate and funny. much closer to the early works of the Czech new wavers .‘vfilos Forman and Jiri Men/cf.

‘My' immediate concern.' Mackinnon says. ‘was to make a film that had emotional rather than social graces. We really wanted to avoid making a grey

24 THE LIST 24 Apr May 39o;

‘Pure isn’t aboutthe destructive power of drugs, it’s about a love that is in both distorted by addiction’

Mackinnon tackles the subject of drugs again

social drama. so we Used the locations like the market next to West Ham football stadium to put colour in there. We talked a lot about colour and mood. the colour of Louise's flat. the fabrics in the market. anything to draw things away from the most obvious kind of realism.‘

Harry liden. the young boy who plays Paul in the film. gives a retnarkable performance. partly due to Mackinnon‘s consummate skill in dealing with child actors. ‘l've got a bit of a history of having children in films] he says. 'lt’s really something I do quite naturally. I was a teacher and a social worker for years and I also have children of my own. so I don‘t find it very difficult. With Harry. it was really important to find the right kid. We had extensive auditions and we just kept bringing him back till we were certain he was the one. If you make a mistake

with a child actor. you are gonna

filming you know.’ he laughs.

.\lackinnon is a busy man. He currently has three projects iii development. l‘irst up. a (ifasgow set drama with (iary Lewis about missing people. working title: l'imlprinls. "l'hat's "missing" as physically and emotionally.‘ explains Mackinnon. ‘lt‘s a sort of fathers- and-sons story." He also has a huge historical epic. lz'agle's Roe/v. about the Scottish land clearances. Lastly. he hopes to do another film with his brother Billy (co-writer of Small l-aeevf. This one. (mm. is to be about a contemporary Romeo. which will have a last act set in (ilasgow.

For now. though. Mackinnon is just waiting for the obvioUs comparisons that will be tnade between Pure and Ken Loach's Sweet Sixteen. ‘I haven't seen it.‘ says Mackinnon. 'I didn't even know that it was being tnade until I was deep into this one. I didn't really want to see it because I didn‘t want to be drawn in by accusations of plagiarismf

'l‘hat’d be plain unfair. Inaccurate. too.

Pure plays Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Fri 2 May. See review, page 25.

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balmy (as well as barmy) butchering as Asian Extreme. the ongoing season of new Asian cinema, hits Scotland from Friday 2 May. Koran thriller Shin' kicks off the 14- week season playing Glasgow and Edinburgh UGCs and will be followed each fortnight by six more films. including the frankly bonkers horror comedy musical The Happiness of the Katakuris, directed by Miike Takashi, the man responsible for Audition.

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CASH PRIZES AND COOL kudos at the Cameo Cinema Edinburgh's annual Jim Poole Short Film Award. Films shortlisted for the award will be screened at the Cameo on Sunday 27 April (and repeated at the GFT Wednesday 30 April) and the Cameo event will also include a prize-giving ceremony. The event is free but book your tickets now.