By David Tucker
Social realism has been an essential section of British tradition over the last seventy years, but it has now not won wherever close to the severe awareness its influence warrants. it may be a hugely responsive style, one who confronts its contemporaneous social, monetary and political contexts with visceral immediacy, whereas while keeping a spotlight at the person, the family and the personal. This attention-grabbing research of the intertwined histories and legacies of British social realism throughout disciplines reveals
how very important the altering style has been for inventive works because the moment international conflict, and the way it resonates inside modern contexts. With unique contributions from prime students, this assortment presents chapters on movie, theatre, fiction, visible artwork, poetry and tv, that convey how social realism speaks to our personal occasions in addition to of the earlier.
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Take Ghosts, a film about the tragic drowning of eighteen Chinese migrant workers in Morecambe Bay. A key question posed by the film seems to be – who are the ghosts? 17 These ghosts are the ‘guiltyinnocents’, they are icons of an inhuman system and the movement and suffering of their bodies traces its interlocking structures. The film gives us a picture of the intimate reliance of the national economy on sweated, racially oppressed, illegal migrant labour that is seemingly hopelessly ensnared within the informal networks of exploitation linking gangmasters, international organized crime, recruitment agencies and multinational corporations such as supermarkets.
It is in this domain that some fascinating recent work in British social realist film has been done. For instance, a social and ethical narrative underlies a number of Shane Meadows’ films, in which a process of social contraction meets a limit and the resources of a counter-movement are sensed. Meadows’ interest in social realism is crossed with an interest in popular genres, particularly the gangster film with its dependence on a tragic motif of the suffering human body (see for instance Dead Man’s Shoes (2004)).
318). The latter’s account of the importance of a ‘common culture’ was inspired by the long history of the working class ethic of solidarity. First proposed over half a century ago, it remains, as Eagleton argues, an objective which, whilst apparently ‘quaintly residual’, nevertheless still lies ahead of us (Eagleton 2000, p. 122). History and ‘capitalist realism’ Looking forwards and backwards will be an important part of what follows, for one of the propositions I would like to explore is that history 20 British Social Realism in the Arts since 1940 has an important relationship with social realist film.