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1998
25
Apr

Brassed off

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Brassed off

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G.B., 1997
Director:
Mark Herman
Cast:
Pete Postlethwaite, Ewan McGregor, Tara Fitzgerald
Screenplay:
Mark Herman
Photography:
Andy Collins
Production:
Steve Abbot
Distribution:
Bim
Time:
1h and 45 '
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Have you ever thought of what happens behind the peaceful façade of a musical band? What is really interesting is the harmony and the perfect execution of a musical passage. No more! No matter if there are problems: only music must be perfect!
Peeping behind the brass instruments, the well-ironed uniforms we find the spirit of group but also the terrible threat of unemployment, as a consequence of the economic politics of Mrs. Thatcher during 12 years conservative government.
We are talking about "Brassed off" set in the small town of Grimley, whose wealth is based on the life of one of the famous coal mines in England.
It is set in the eighties, when the coal lost value and was replaced by other energetic resources. As a result numerous mines were closed and lots of people lost their job. No protest, no woman or child, no detailed relation could be useful to prevent the closing.
The same happens to the mine of Grimley. There was no way to avoid the catastrophe, despite these men had given everything to the mine. They lost even their health because coal dust deposits and fills the lugs till the lack of breath.
The English makes use of a game of words, what English calls "pun". That is, with brassed off they intend being fed up, tired, but brass is also the material of the instruments. Back to the story, all men work in the mine as well as play with the band in order to participate, together with the musical groups of other mines, to the competion organized by the glorious Royal Albert Hall. They win the first prize, the prestigious cup, and the favor of the audience thanks to the trascinante passion of the director of the orchestra.
I think, this is a rather intersting film to reflect on, with a screen-play characterized by the lack of special effects, Hollywood star, and large money investments. The doubling is not very good and the scenography is rather poor. We are in an industrial zone completely defaced by the exploitation of the coal.
What really strikes us however is the humanity, the truthfulness and the sincerity of each character that acquires international humanitarian values. I found some melodramatic, not really necessary, moments, in the love affair between the beautiful, good and clever woman with the sad, tired and young miner. However the true tragedy exists and the choice lays between accepting the money loosing job or hoping to have work.
They are a compact group but their problems are different. The band is the only way to be accepted by others and it is sad that they are more appreciated as musicians, rather than as honest workers.
This is a very intersting lesson the director gives us. An English world far from the everlasting scandals of the royal family and from the financial world and their economic successes.
This is a small masterpiece because of the real dimensions of things and human people in the history, without dribbles and without going over limits and extremisms.

Beatrice Di Venosa
 
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