RR Films: Community

My home town has remained in the news here for the past week, as the primordial slime is dredged for clues about our local mass murderer. Much has been written about how us Mancs have pulled together and rejected any message of hate or mistrust and – much as I would like to be cynical about it – I have found tears coming into my eyes on several occasions as stories of solidarity across cultural, religious and ethnic divides have been told. I cannot deny it: I am proud to be part of this community and this city.

So, let’s have your films about community this week. My choice is Pride, the true story of two communities  – miners and gays – overcoming their mutual suspicion and prejudice to fight oppression and spread understanding.

What films about community would you recommend?

RR Films, like me, is taking a break for a week. I’m not sure where RR is going but I’m off to join my amour in the Dominican Republic 🙂

16 thoughts on “RR Films: Community

  1. Well, Long Strange Trip hasn’t been released yet, so here’s this one in the meantime. (An old friend of mine ended up at UC Santa Cruz, and crashed on my couch in LA and in NYC when the Dead were in town.)

    Have a wonderful trip!

  2. The only one that springs to mind is “East is East’, set in Salford. A Muslim father and a Catholic mother struggle to bring up their seven children, one of whom is gay. The children are caught up in the dichotomy of strict, Muslim beliefs and liberal English attitudes – it’s not all happily ever after but it shows the difficulties of trying to integrate different communities and cultures.

    Hope you have a fantastic time away!

  3. Wow so many points in such a short post. First off, have fun. Sunny beaches and lazy days…

    My instinctive reaction is Black Friday, based on the 1993 riots and serial blasts that shook Mumbai and India. Too grim though.

    Then there are two starring the fabulous Smita Patil, Mandi and Mitch Masala. The first, which means Market, is about a brothel in the heart of Hyderabad. The second is very on topic, a rural community dependent on chilies and how the people there come together to fight some corrupt officials.

    After sneaking in those favourites, I am going to suggest Swades, about an NRI leaving NASA and coming back to help rebuild. Beautiful music too.

      • Oh I forgot Manthan, which will nicely round off a hat trick of Smita Patil starrers and movies beginning with M. It’s based on the life of Dr Verghese Kurien who initiated and oversaw the dairy cooperatives as well as the “White Revolution”. The Co-operative has since been replicated all over India. Directed by Shyam Benegal.
        Movie was financed by 5 lakh farmers who each donated Rs.2.

  4. I thought Paterson had some interesting ideas about community. He’s the observer whose chronicle continually reinforces the small victories or the quiet epiphanies which enrich otherwise uneventful lives, and his record gives these moments meaning. His poems literally become cohesive social bonds. His job makes him a regular point of contact for people and he’s involved in the defusion of a couple of situations which the viewer may assume will take a completely different course. The film also avoids the standard film tropes of “the angel” or “the naive catalyst”- it’s far more subtle and restrained.

  5. Many of the Ealing Studios classic comedy films had community at the core of their narratives. but I don’t want to pick any of them, much as I enjoy them, but I am picking an Ealing film though.

    It was released in 1942 and it is Went the Day Well?. The script, based on a Graham Greene short story, tells of the takeover of an English village by Nazi paratroopers. The village community comes together to try and defeat the invaders, who are aided and abetted by the local squire, who is revealed to be a Nazi Fifth Columnist.

    It was clearly written as war propaganda, but it really does encapsulate the idea of community and communal action on the Home Front during the war years.

  6. There were very mixed reviews and the Guardian Film Show mocked the style of the thing but I really liked 2015’s London Road.

    It was based on a stage play which was based on real life events. Set in Ipswich in the aftermath of the murders of five prostitutes. People living in London Road come together to try to make their community a better place.

    It was based on interviews which are spoken by the actors. And sometimes they’re sung by individuals and in chorus. All natural speech with “um”s and “er”s and half-finished sentences abounding. Like I say I really liked it but I know some people who hated it with a vengeance. Features Olivia Coleman and Tom Hardy.


  7. My family used to go to Eyam a lot, especially if the weather was good. Part of that interest came about cos of a film called The Roses of Eyam, apparently it was very good. Of course, it’s more famous as a play. For those who don’t know it’s based on the true story of a community closing itself off to prevent the spread of bubonic plague.

    Community, let’s have Threads – the collapse is all the more horrifying because we learn so much about the people and their community before the bombs fall.

    • There’s novel I quite like about the Eyam plague (although it gets a bit silly near the end) called Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. That village has a fascinating story to tell. Although I’ve spent a lot of time in the Peak District over the years, I’ve never visited Eyam.

  8. A couple of contrasting classic films just came to me. They are both about a Scottish community into which an outsider comes, with very different consequences: Local Hero and The Wicker Man.

  9. Very late to the party this week but an immediate first thought is the marvellous ” City of Hope” by the great John Sayles (1991) – it concerns the day to day life of an unnamed American city including all the corruption, violence, love, tragedy, etc etc that such a story should embrace. It really is a film that everyone should see especially given recent events in the USA ! And as already mentioned a number of the Ealing classics are based on community, a good example being “Passport to Pimlico”

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