Directed by Alan Clarke (1987, rated R, 93 minutes)
The following film notes have been written by the artist George Shaw:
This film tells the story of two teenage girls from a working-class council estate in the north of England and their various sexual exploits with an older married man. Essentially a comedy, the film tackles many of the political and social issues associated with the realist kitchen sink tradition of the early sixties. It was adapted by Andrea Dunbar from her own stage play and loses nothing of her unflinching autobiographical voice.
I saw the film when it came out, and it was a shock to see the immediate world around me presented with such honesty and uncanny warmth. I laughed my head off! I’d like to think the country has changed in the last thirty years, but I doubt it. I saw it recently and laughed my head off all over again.
This screening is part of the artist’s film series Films of Innocence and Experience, with titles selected by George Shaw. All screenings are free and, unless otherwise noted, take place in the Center’s Lecture Hall. Seating is limited.
Film was an important part of my childhood years and continues to be an influence in how I see the world. Films have had an influence in nearly every one of my paintings. For this series, I have selected films from a range of genres, including the kitchen sink tradition of the sixties through to science fiction, crime, horror, and comedy. For me, they present a picture of Britain that is almost autobiographical, and I see in them a landscape that is so familiar, so angry, so disturbing, so eerie, and so funny that it can only be the Britain in which I grew up.
The title of the series is a nod to William Blake’s illustrated book of poetry Songs of Innocence and Experience, which I had the pleasure of viewing during my last trip to the Center. When I was asked to select some of my favorite films to complement the exhibition, I found that many of the themes in the films I chose echoed those within Blake’s poetry: Innocence falling into experience at the hands of the state, of religion, of industry, of economics, of the abuses of power, and of our own fears and anxieties as life slips by.