(Alan Clarke, UK, 1975) 95 minutes
Director: Alan Clarke
Producer: Mark Shivas
Screenplay: David Agnew
Photography: David Whitson, Peter Hall
Editor: Dan Rae
Reviews and notes
Teenage Diane Weaver lives with her old dad in a dilapidated block of flats, her mother having long since fled. The neighbouring kids find Diane likeable but oddly remote, until one tries to woo her, and unwittingly brings an awful secret to light.
is a 'subject film', utterly devoid of sensationalism, and made with rare artistry: sparse, harrowing, but deeply humane. Conceived as a two-parter, it was condensed into a single play due to complicated circumstances at the BBC; but the result shows Clarke striving for new levels of realism and feeling. As producer Mark Shivas notes. "It was a seminal piece for him, in terms of the bleakness of the style, the paring down and working within the frame, matched with the bleak subject matter."
Clarke's endeavour is aided immeasurably by a naturalistic and hugely endearing lead performance from Janine Duvitski, whom Clarke discovered fresh out of the East 15 Drama School in London. As she recalls, "When I read the script I don't know if I realised all that quickly that it was about incest. But I don't think Alan wanted the usual cliches of a piece like that, where it's all spelt out, and the victim is just moody and depressed all the time. He wanted to show Diane as being quite unpredictable, and the dad wasn't just some nasty thug. So you understood more about the sort of person who would do that - the everdayness of it."
is another Clarke heroine with shades of Bresson about her soulful downcast demeanour.
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