|Lenny and Peter Mullan with Graeme Robertson.|
Although Peter Mullan’s day job is an actor, Saturday night’s film is his third as a director. His first full length feature was Orphans (1998) but his best known film to date was his second directorial outing The Magdalene Sisters (2002) a controversial look at life in an Irish Magdalene Asylum which gave a home to women who were labeled as “fallen” by their families or society. This film won Mullan a Golden Lion award at the Venice film festival.
Neds (2011) set in Glasgow in 1972, involves one John McGill who we first meet making his mum and aunt proud at the primary school prize giving. But it’s not long before we see this young intelligent boy joining his elder brother Benny, who was expelled from school for threatening behavior, on the street’s running with the same Neds (Non Educated Delinquents) Both brothers share the same loving, but repressed, mother and the same drunken bully of a father. Mullan's latest film reveal’s that its not just family life that effects Johns social awareness but the authorities, in the familiar guise of strap welding school teachers, who seem intent on punishing John McGill because he has that rare commodity: a brain. This type of punishment exhibits violence as power, something the working class youth of the council schemes accept as normal. A nod to Kubrick’s 1971 Clockwork Orange? This gut- wrenching, disturbing and somewhat unsettling portrait of 1970’s youth shows, quite powerfully, how the system fails to protect or encourage the John McGill’s of this world. I am aware that the director will probably not agree, but would place his film squarely in the tradition of British social realism.
|Darren Conner talks to the director.|
|One for the family album.|