With her debut feature film, Red Road, Andrea Arnold has created a new landmark in Scottish film- making. It won the Jury Prize in Cannes, and this month it premieres in Glasgow, where it was filmed. To kick off this extended article on the film, Paul Dale explains why it is so good, and talks to Arnold about what she set out to achieve.
18 THE LIST 5—1:" Oct 2006
women who are at the vanguard ol' quality. truth and all that should be right in cinema. Think of Lynne Ramsay. who made .UUI'H'I'H (‘ullmn or Shona Auerbach. who was responsible for lh'ur Frankie. or Alison
I it these lean times for Scottiin film it is
l’eebles. who directed xllicrlj/i'. The work of
these Scottish or Scotland-based filmmakers certainly lived up to its promise. But now. Andrea Arnold's mature. intense and brilliant Red Road has come along. (‘ould we be witnessing a hiin watermark in (‘eltic cincma'.’
Red Ruml is a cul'ious. Vital. and trul} gripping thriller about Jackie (Kate Dickie). a CCTV operator in (ilasgow. who each day watches the goings on in and around the
rundown Red Road scheme in the east end ol‘
(ilasgow. ()ne da} she sees a familiar lace. that of (‘|_\de (Ton) (‘urranL a recent!) released l'elon. We don't know what he‘s done. but Jackie knows. Then. for reasons we do not understand. she proceeds to stalk him into the darkest heart of madness.
If this sounds like a stereotypicall)’ bleak.
grim} arthotIse moxie. then prepare to be surprised: it is shot through with warmth. humour. and real humanit}. While it weighs in at just under two hours. the ﬁlm graduall) cranks up its pace until it reaches a rix'eting conclusion.
Much ol' the lilm's strength lies in the three- dimensional nature ol~ the characters. There's a real sense that Arnold has worked out a lot more about their histories than she needs to reVeal in this ﬁlm. and this is no accident. Indeed. le Roml is the lirst lilm in a planned trilog) called '.'\d\anced Party. The project is inspired by (but not mired in the excesses of) l)ogme ()5. masterminded and produced b} ('arrie ('omerl‘ord and Gillian Berrie from the Scottish production compan} Sigma l‘ilms. in collaboration with l.ars \on Trier‘s [entropa and based on characters created b) the people behind ll'i/lmr ll'unls In Kill Himself. Lone Sherlig and Anders Thomas Jensen.
Their idea — or masterplan — is that three young directors (Arnold. l'ellow' Scot Morag McKinnon and Dane Mikkel Norgaard) will