Meal Ticket


I don’t really like social realist cinema, and so I find a lot of British stuff uninteresting. The film industry’s responses to Thatcherism struck me as mainly inadequate, as they lacked the sheer grotesque malevolence of the real thing. So when I wanted to mark the passing of an era at this week’s edition of The Forgotten, I picked on a movie that isn’t what you would call a critics’ darling.


13 Responses to “Meal Ticket”

  1. david wingrove Says:

    Ironically, the best films about Thatcherism are those that don’t deal with it directly. BRAZIL (which is allegedly sci-fi), LITTLE DORRIT (a period piece) and THE COOK THE THIEF HIS WIFE AND HER LOVER (Peter Greenaway – nuff said).

  2. No love for Alan Clarke? (I know he worked mostly in TV, but still…)

  3. Sammy and Rosie Get Laid is a direct evocation of the Thatcherian eitgeist — beginning with the shooting of an unarmed lower class black housewife.

    Derek Jarman’s The Last of England evokes it poetically.

  4. Jarman’s idiosyncratic approach is very appealing, and TLOE is wonderfully apocalyptic. On the big screen, from the front row, it’s quite a powerful experience.

    Clarke… yes-ish. His features never really did it for me, seeming still stuck in TV-land, whereas his TV work had strong cinematic qualities. Richardson, outside of Eat the Rich, has a similar problem. The Pope Must Die wasn’t ever ready for the big screen. Some strong moments aside, neither was The Supergrass. Stella Street was a nice series, and stumbled badly as a feature-length special.

  5. judydean Says:

    Richardson’s ‘The Strike’ is very funny, even if the jokes are more at Hollywood’s expense than Thatcher’s. Sadly, Channel 4 have had it pulled from YouTube.

  6. Yes, that’s a good one. I liked The GLC a lot too, with Robbie Coltraine as Charles Bronson as Ken Livingston. Just typing that makes me smile.

  7. I was tangentially involved in some of the shooting of The Last of England as I took Derek and Tilda around when they came to L.A. to promote Caravaggio. We walked up Sunset and Derek took shots of the wainscotting on several buildings. Boytoy du jour Sping (also on the trip) meanwhile, went to The Pleasure Chest in search of a new dildo.

  8. So I’m not the only one who was left speechless by Thatcher’s fawning over that gawd awful piece of kitsch showing the British soldiers raising the flag over the Falklands. She was so proud of a war that Jorge Luis Borges summed up as “The Falklands thing was a fight between two bald men over a comb.” She also oversaw the ending of the Eady Levy which played a big role in killing the British Film industry. I’m just glad I didn’t grow up in the UK during her time as PM. Yikes!

  9. She was culturally a disaster except as a source of material — hatred of her energized a lot of people. But for all that, better if she’d never been born.

  10. ROCINANTE with John Hurt was a sort of picaresque State of the Nation piece from the mid 80s. I caught it on Channel 4 late one night but I don’t recall it being very good…

  11. …and there was so much favourable attention paid to The Ploughman’s Lunch, which bored me to tears.

  12. david wingrove Says:

    Not even Tim Curry could save that one!

  13. As little as I enjoy naturalism, it was sort of interesting to see Tim Curry in something naturalistic, since his mere presence threatened to rip it from its foundations. Sadly, he wasn’t permitted to do so.

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