Typical late-period Clarke with the parred-down blankness with no answers and fewer questions. The mesmeric repetitions of Christine’s drugs rounds are both horrifying and gripping, creating patterns of movement and circular motifs - the omnipresent children’s television always switched-on. Indictment or even reason for this situation are thin on the ground with only the childlike theme music offering commentary.
Shocking by the way it normalises the use of heroine among Christine and her friends. The drug itself is hardly referred to, nor are any of the bad side-affects or withdraw of the drug shown. Even the inserting of needles and the blissful calm after are downplayed here, so that the drug is so invisible, that only the viewer is horrified by its use. No doubt caused controversy at the time it was aired.
A chilling way of representing the brackets of a fixed existence. To walk with them is to be left alone with them with a promised interaction to come, in which a mindful moment shall come about. A true cinematographic sense of daily actions as they really become the defining movements.
Clearly a prelude to Elephant, intently, steadily trotting along in front of and behind the protagonist (not unlike the Dardenne brothers but 10 years before, and the more I dip into Clarke, the more I realize his mastery), to witness non-plussed casual horse-injection, just like nonchalant murder. Grim for certain. Taking a dive into Clarke like Leigh years ago, full torque. British TV was wildly alarming. Cheers.
Great evening at the BFI, screening two of the best Clarke films, Christine and Road. Like with all great films I had to research the locations afterwards. I might have to take a trip to Keats Way in West Drayton now to pay my tribute, just like I did to Maryon Park in Charlton once (google it).
Alan Clarke in his most reductive mode, where causality becomes transgressive, this is essentially a “walking film” without an emphasis on plot but solely on character and place, as Clarke’s camera follows the titular character, Christine, walking from house to house, meeting and supplying her supposedly teenage friends and peers, heroin. Clarke creates a film though monotonous (by repetition) is masterful,
Unlike stylised junk like Trainspotting and Requiem for a Dream, this work manages to effectively convey the detachment and aimlessness of a life overtaken by heroin. While the critics would rather heap praise on tricksters like Danny Boyle, the smarter viewers understand that Clarke was one of the most radical and brave directors Britain has ever produced. His work deserves a lot more attention from my compatriots.