Working Class Realism by John Hilll

Working Class Realism by John Hilll
When ?Working class realism? emerged within British cinema in 1956, it became acknowledged as a break of determination to tackle certain social and real issues. This was presented as a ?New Wave? within British film and offered an opposition to the original procedures and approaches to British Cinema. ?Working class realism? an analytical piece by John Hill, reveals to us how, coinciding with the ?new Britain? that was stabilizing and evolving after the war, was a ?New wave? of British social problem films. They were acknowledged for the fact that they were ?realist? films with a purpose to reveal the reality of Britain onto the film screen without disguising it with the ?Hollywood style? facades. This new concept involved the revolutionary move to include the industrial working class within it and diverse from the social groups previously portrayed through film. These British ?new wave? films began to include youthful protagonists, absorbed in the period?s thriving society, which seemed to portray the relevant themes and the social issues at this time.
Although, it is suggested that ?New Wave? films were mostly about interpersonal relationships in Working class and industrial settings, and that although it is believe that many of these inspirational movement pieces were to portray forms of social injustice, it may not have been their intention to explore and portray through film the economic system and question its ethics. It may well have been, as John Hill suggested that the many social problem films that can be found throughout this movement, could have obscured as much as they enlightened the potential for social change and reconstruction. It is known that many of the great Directors of the time will have grown up in Working class positions and have personal experiences that they?d have wished to portray through the use of film. We can see that a characteristic of many New Wave films are poetic shots and montages of the northern industrial landscape as it was the Working class in the North of England that suffered greatly post-war. To John Hill, these location shots interrupt the narrative logic and mark the ?foregrounding of artistry? allowing the creation of the factories and other cityscapes. Hill argues these landscapes could be ?visual abstractions?emptied of socio-economic context?. So, what these films and portrayals tell us about society are the purely subjective viewpoints of their makers. It is due to this focus on the ?real? The focuses are made on the People and Place, and their relevance within the works produced. In the British ?New Wave? it is ensured that the subject never becomes a dominant focus, as scenes do not always tend to include the protagonists or lesser subjects who are cleverly excluded to ensure forms of realism. John Hill suggests that some thought these landscape views were sometimes perceived to be artistic aesthetics and therefore lacked reality, yet he later agreed that although photography is art, these pictures portray life, they capture what?s real. It is from this that it is suggested that the realism of the films depend upon the way in which the surroundings relate to the character rather than the narrative. If the surroundings are ?mismatched? then it does not directly accompany the narrative and therefore is not as fictional as the pre-designed sets of the Hollywood films, and so adds a realistic atmosphere that was sought within these films. It is through this originality and the production of these realistic scenes that the film distinguishes itself from others post- 1956. With a style that is central to the idea of originality, its inventiveness lies in the fact that it is not a smooth, perfect, stylistic film; attention is placed on its subject-matter and natural narrative, which makes it so realistic. Some directors elaborated on this realism, with a distinct plan to portray a more ?matter-of-fact? documentary film, others enabled this era to be known as ?poetic cinema? through the idea that the films maintained a personal and poetic quality, as they portrayed not a necessarily strictly realistic view of the treatment of the working-class, the films ?struggled to keep a poetic quality? which seemed to remain within the style and themes. It was this that presented the argument that although ?new wave? films were produced to portray the working-class people of Britain and their lives, it still represented the views of the outsiders that produced them. The extract that I studied from John Hills, ?Sex, Class and Realism?, in reference to the British Cinema 1956-1963, I was aware of the relevance of sex within this period of film, as well as the subject of the working class and the realistic portrayal of their lives. This was a period of development, change and breakthrough for all involved from the previously strict and non-digressional social behaviour. It appears to be that within this period, the ?New Wave? mirrored the emergence of art cinemas, which seemed to challenge the previous aesthetics and attitudes within the film industry as they identified with their directors rather than with the industry, the ?New Wave? films tended to address issues around masculinity that would become common in British social realism. It was this new focus on sex that John Hill suggested intensified the ?retreat into individualism? creating an interpersonal piece rather than the social and historically realistic pieces that the directors had previously wished to portray. John Hill explains how ?Realism? within this era was used in an attempt to reveal life and the views of the working class. Techniques such as using recognisable situations, locations and the non-professional actors were used to aid this reality. However, we are made aware that there is also a problem. The use of juxtapositioning image and dialogue as well as the narrative, provokes the viewer to question what they see. Due to the constraints of television: both economic, and production restraints, reality is still obviously constructed, the only thing that can be done is make it look as authentic and as believable as possible, following conventional realist techniques. ??[Realism has] a contemporary setting?[and] concerns itself with?human action described in exclusively human terms?[and] deals with the lives of ordinary people." (Williams 1977) However, it is clear when reading John Hills work that one cannot address realism within the working class without a focus in some respect on the way in which the ?class? work. There is the problem of presenting labour within film due to the emotional and private connection with the characters and their work, how this should be addressed and portrayed etc. But it is through the presentation of this world that we are presented with the idea that these ?kitchen sink dramas? in reference to the working-class lives featured in the films, maintains the danger that the working class may be sensationalised, and that they may become the objects rather than the subjects of these films. This can be seen in the way in which within any class, there are those who wish to rise above their position and better themselves, New Wave films centre on individual characters who want to stand out from their working class community and it is through this that John Hill presents the problem of individualism that can divert from the realistic portrayal and provide the alternative formal approach to the representation of the working class experience. It is through the observation that working class realism is central to the realistic portrayal of the British ?working class?, it is clear to observe through the use of film to portray such people and place, one can not escape the fact that there will always remain an alternate view towards the films. Whether it is through the argument that as it is film, it is art and therefore personal, not real, or whether the use of a person to portray the life and work, the life of the working-class portrayed by the middle-class, is never presented truthfully. Through films such as ?A taste of Honey? and ?Saturday night and Sunday morning? we are shown the variations of theme, from, the focus on the protagonists, landscape and the working class positions, to the use of original film techniques, which juxtapose the new realism ideals. Poetic Personalization and the want within the film industry to expand horizons through the increased attitudes towards sex, and revolution from the familiar, changes the way in which these films are perceived. Through popular films such as the ?Carry on? films, these new comic and daring concepts were portrayed without realism. From 1956 to the late sixties, there was an evolution in film that changed the face of British Cinema, John Hill emphasizes and then challenges the beliefs and views of the time within the industry and questions whether the realism is truly there. This clever exert from his work revealed to me the true extent of the purposed ?realism? within such a fantastic film era.

Working Class Realism by John Hilll 9.9 of 10 on the basis of 2101 Review.