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By Dave Rolinson

The British tv director Alan Clarke is essentially linked to the visceral social realism of such works as his banned borstal play Scum, and his examine of soccer hooliganism, The Firm. This e-book uncovers the total diversity of his paintings from the mythic delusion of Penda's Fen, to the novel brief movie on terrorism, Elephant. Dave Rolinson makes use of unique examine to ascertain the advance of Clarke's occupation from the theatre and the "studio approach" of provocative tv play strands of the Nineteen Sixties and Nineteen Seventies, to the more and more own paintings of the Nineteen Eighties, which verified him as certainly one of Britain's maximum auteur tv directors.

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Confusing with temporal ellipsis, Clarke cuts to shots with no narrative motivation – Henry at the children’s playgroup, little girls on swings. And then, brutally, he cuts to the irretrievable breakdown of the argument, and Henry’s outburst against her ‘ogling me … undressing me. Why don’t you leave me alone? ’ The scene raises questions about the story behind ‘David’, but they are not followed up, and the play refuses to judge or even articulate his thoughts. So why does Henry tell lies? The question directly follows his failed appeal to be embraced into the family, to ‘sit in your branches’, and as such implicates an increasingly alienating society.

Such restrictions particularly apply to directors’ work for drama series, which tend to require a fidelity to ‘house style’. However, in his series work over 1967 and 1968, Clarke employs some of his distinctive motifs. For instance, Angela Moreton (1967), in her review of Clarke’s episode of The Informer, noted the use of ‘long searching close-ups’. Rolinson_AC_02_Chap 1 23 17/5/05, 9:05 am 24 Alan Clarke Equally, the acclaimed A Man of Our Times afforded scope for individual contributions; according to John L Phillips (1968), each episode could ‘stand as a play in its own right’.

His parents have had a ‘seeing is believing’ faith in the media, and have been content to not think too much (when asked to consider the starving millions, Norman replies, ‘Name two’). The internalisation of social pressures into the family unit is connected with the media through the central ambiguity raised in the title – the connection between the screens of the media and the ‘screens’ behind which Christopher hides. It is tempting to read Christopher as symbolising the single play itself. His attempts to bring the cultural revolution into the home from a screen in the corner of the room are ignored.

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