This book explores the interactions of comedy and drama within a group of significant and influential films released during the decade of the 1990s. It examines a group of British films from this period which engage with economic and social issues in unusual and compelling ways. Brassed Off and The Full Monty are two films invoking very different cultural traditions as possible activities for unemployed males and troubled communities in modern British society. The book then discusses a number of contemporary British films focusing upon the experiences of British-Asian and African-Caribbean characters and their efforts to feel 'at home' in Western and British society. It features an extensive analysis of East is East, a comedy-drama about the cultural and ideological tensions surfacing between members of a British-Asian family living in Salford, circa 1971. Next, the book includes case studies of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, and Love Actually. It investigates the ways in which humour is deployed for dramatic and emotional effect in the context of scenarios dealing with such seemingly non-comic subjects as mass unemployment, failed or uneasy relationships, bitter family disputes, or instances of racial tension and conflict in British society. The book demonstrates that the interaction of comic and dramatic modes of narration within the films discussed proved to be a dynamic creative mechanism in 1990s British cinema, facilitating and enabling the construction of innovative and genuinely exploratory narratives about characters who are striving to realise particular aspirations and hopes within a complex culture.
Instructional Centres under the National Government
Under the National Government, the Ministry of Labour’s control over work camps grew, as did its scale. While recruitment was voluntary once more, the number of camps and training places were expanded, and the scheme was opened up to all long-term unemployed males. Its main focus continued to be ‘reconditioning’ through heavy manual labour. The creation of the Unemployment Assistance Board brought the remaining municipal labour colonies under the control of central government, and increased the civil service professional cadre concerned with training. A number of policy-makers continued to press for compulsory recruitment (workfare) but this was resisted by the training professionals, who preferred the more relaxed discipline of voluntary recruits. There was increasing attention to measuring and analysing the physical changes brought about by ‘reconditioning’. However, placement rates were low after training, and the majority of trainees returned to unemployment. In its own terms, the scheme must be judged a failure. The camps closed in 1939.
‘Tears of laughter': comedy-drama in 1990s British cinema
. The chapter concludes with
case studies of Brassed Off (Mark Herman, 1996) and The Full
Monty (Peter Cattaneo, 1997), two films invoking very different cultural
traditions as possible activities for unemployedmales and troubled
communities in modern British society.
Chapter 2 discusses a number of
contemporary British films focusing upon the experiences of British-Asian
cinema, a development which in many ways was anticipated by the mood
of resignation prevalent in Brassed Off (1996), and the ‘for
one night only’ tone of The Full Monty (1997). Purely
Belter (Mark Herman, 2000) did, however, return to the problems of
economically depressed and socially troubled areas of the north, but
concentrated on dramatising the effects of these harsh conditions on a
second generation of unemployed
loosely formed gangs of unemployedmales whose anger and frustration at their
continuing marginalisation from mainstream society, itself a form of emasculation,
drives them deeper and deeper into violence and confrontation with the police.
Le Ciel , however, is a teen/summer holiday comedy of manners, set far from
the banlieue , which centres on a smaller number of protagonists, one of
whom is played by Jamel Debbouze, who has since become a hugely successful
that the team of researchers inadvertently uncovered an
underground network of clubs catering for youths and adults. In cities
such as Cardiff, Liverpool and Glasgow, they found that alongside the ‘respectable’ organisations there existed small clubs which, although generally
licensed, were merely houses converted into bars. These types of clubs
were situated in the poorer parts of cities and were housed in a variety
of buildings including empty shops, cellars or basements and in wooden
huts. The clubs were utilised by both employed and unemployedmales,
while a good
’s survey also excluded male siblings from women’s pool of dependants by including them in the category of ‘large families’. Only ageing parents, invalid sisters and unemployedmale husbands and fathers were specifically cited. B. S. Rowntree and F. Stuart, The Responsibility of Women Workers for Dependents (Oxford, 1921), pp. 100–104; S. Pedersen, Family, Dependence and the Origins of the Welfare State: Britain and France, 1914–45 (Cambridge, 1993), pp. 156–158.
18 Todd, The People , p. 14.
19 Thom, Nice Girls and Rude Girls , pp. 12–14, 61–72; Woollacott
detachment from the
Church –female sex, older age and (in all likelihood) lack of third-level education. Focusing on extremes in presenting their multivariate analysis of the
1990 EVS data, Hornsby-Smith and Whelan (1994:28) note that ‘a 65-year-
old woman in full-time unpaid home duties has a 0.98 probability of attending
church weekly or more often, while for a twenty-year-old urban unemployedmale the probability falls to 0.32’. Hitherto a source of bedrock support to clerical power, regular attenders with similar characteristics to Hilliard’s sample may
quickly became the Derry Young Hooligans after 5 October 1968. Overwhelmingly, the Young Hooligans were unskilled, long-term unemployedmales who habitually vented their anger and frustration with the local Unionist authorities in a tirade of violence. 113
Insofar as the LLP tabled motions for annual NILP conferences these were aimed at specific grievances acute to the north-west region. For instance, at the 1970 conference in Newry the LLP injected a west of the Bann flavour into proceedings, with calls for ‘a working party to make a study of the feasibility of
half his men off, too. According to Garbett, 3,000
unemployedmales had enlisted in the army by the third week of April.
‘The situation of Trade in this Town is frightful’,65 he reported that
summer, adding that it would get much worse if a rupture with America
were to take place as well.
Matthew Boulton coped with the credit crisis of 1793 rather better
than most of his fellow manufacturers, thanks in no small measure to
the strength and support of his London bankers. The lean years that
followed, he was able to weather because of the diversiﬁcation of his