(Alan Clarke, UK, 1987) 80 minutes


Director: Alan Clarke
Producer: Brenda Reid
Screenplay: Alan Clarke, Arthur Ellis
Vicky Murdock
Kelly George
Joanne Mapp
Mark Harvey
Anthony Smith

Reviews and notes

CHRISTINE has only one purpose in life: supplying heroin to her teenage friends. Clarke's camera attaches us to this courier of oblivion as she goes efficiently on her daily round, the only person on the streets of a modern housing estate in the middle of a flat plane somewhere in the south of England. There is no link between this estate and the rest of society - its only visible connection to cultural history are the names 'Coleridge' and 'Keats' on street signs. And aside from Christine's mum, adults remain unseen, off-screen phantoms. The kids here are cut off from family, society, culture and history: their only link to the outside world is the girl who brings them the means to blank it all out.

We begin to dread each walk with Christine because we know that when it stops we'll be made to watch the young addicts shoot up. And to make our position even more uncomfortable, the camera is never completely static but hovers nervously - almost excitedly - as the drug is injected, lending our observation an unwelcome element of prurience. The only relief is the occasional stretch of bleak comedy (Clarke co-wrote the script with sardonic wit Arthur Ellis) as Christine and her best friend Eddie try to give a party. They're too blocked to remember the date or the friends they've invited, and even locating records and a gramophone needle becomes a Herculean task. In the end, of course, there is no party - just Christine alone in a chair in front of a television screen, quietly weeping.
-Howard Schuman, Sight and Sound, September 1998.

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