films seen
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Alive and kicking
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My Ain Folk

1973 / 55m - UK
My Ain Folk poster

The middle part of Bill Douglas' autobiographical drama trilogy. It's a pretty straight-forward continuation of the first film, only a bit longer and with slightly better technical qualities. It doesn't make a big difference though, Douglas' work is quite particular and will either appeal to you or push you away.

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Jamie and Tommy are separated when their grandmother dies. Jamie is sent to live with another relative, while Tommy is shipped off to a welfare home. It's a barren time for Jamie, who is now all alone and in an environment where there's no joy or comfort, only violence and distrust.

Douglas' "show don't tell" approach is still in full effect, the grim black and white cinematography alternates between functional and aesthetic and the drama is extremely heavy-handed. This is social drama at its purest, which is not something I thoroughly appreciate, but I can't help but be in awe of Douglas' dedication to the style.

My Childhood

1972 / 46m - UK
My Childhood poster

Scottish social drama (read: poverty porn). As the title suggests, the film is based on the childhood memories of director Bill Douglas. It's not a documentary (though it often looks like one), but the start of a narrative trilogy where Douglas travels back in time and dredges up mementos of his youth.

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Douglas grew up in a poor Scottish miner's village, the post-War situation there was pretty dreary and hopeless. He and his brother lived together with their grandma, their parents nowhere in sight. It's a textbook example of social drama, only with a slightly more personal angle.

Grim black and white cinematography, no stylistic polish and many depressing scenes. I will say that Douglas did well to stay clear from overt sentimentality. For such a personal document, he maintains a very dry and factual tone that gives the film some extra weight. I'm sure there's an audience for this, but I'm certainly not it.