Alan Clarke

Active - 1972 - 1989  |   Born - Oct 28, 1935 in Seacombe, England, UK  |   Genres - Drama

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Television film director and editor Alan Clarke was a master filmmaker noted for his vibrant explorations of the lives of society's dregs. The son of a Liverpool bricklayer, he too worked as a laborer and then attempted to be a salesman before spending two years in Hong Kong as part of the National Service. He later moved to Canada and began taking courses in acting and directing. He went back to England in 1961 to work as a floor manager for television, and became a director for the BBC in 1969. During his long career there, he made three theatrical films. One of them was a slightly sanitized remake of a television film, Scum, a graphic look at life in a grim juvenile prison that the national network banned because they felt it was too disturbing. Another was Rita, Sue & Bob Too (1986), a rollicking sex comedy about love amongst the unbeautiful. He then focused upon filming "plays" from both established and unknown writers. He preferred scripts that took a hard look at his country, and some of his best work came out when Thatcher was in power. Some of his films feature little dialog and are almost surreal as can be seen in the 1989 television film Elephant which chronicles without a spoken word, or explanation or even a context, the individual killings of eighteen Irish people (the "killings" were carefully staged and everyone involved was an actor). Clarke's films have never been known for being comfortable or easy to watch. Instead they are realistic, unflinching, metaphorical portrayals of British life.

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