Irish Film Institute -Scum


When the BBC banned the original production of this violent play about the institutionalised, hierarchical brutality of Borstal life, the team of writer Roy Minton and director Alan Clarke remade it as a feature film. Clarke was one of Britain’s most respected directors and brought a new toughness to the cinema of social criticism. Scum is a docu-drama that carries the same force as the improvised weapons Ray Winstone uses to bludgeon his way through the Borstal power structure. This is potentially knife-edge film-making: will audiences buy the reformist liberalism and stomach the violence, or in fact buy the violence and miss the message? The careful calculations show, but you’re still likely to leave at the end feeling righteously angry.
U.K., 1979. Colour. 97mins

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