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A very dated cross between Carry on and Cornonation Street.
on 31 January 2011
I have a problem with British Cinema from the 60's onwards, especially Tony Richardson, Richard Attenborough and Ken Russell. Sorry if that offends some people who cherish these directors and their films. I know that most of these films were based on some very good novels, but this is a criticism of the style and attitude of the films themselves and not the material they were based on.
Sorry but to my eyes A Taste of Honey seems very patronising. Almost like the kind of film a committee of wealthy Oxbridge graduates would make rather than something made with the conviction of an artist. It's like they had the view that actors can pretend to be poor by putting on the right clothes and an accent, and then by setting the film in the slums it will appear authentic, but it doesnt create a deep understanding of how the lower class think, feel or behave. It's almost felt like watching a class of amateurs at drama school, it has that overacting and overemphasis of the Eastenders/ Coronation Street kind, and the clichéd dialogue doesnt help. Consequentially i felt that the film had very little depth of character and i wasnt convinced that Tushingham's character was truly suffering. Then there's the music which is like something from a 'Carry On' movie, explicitly signifying changes of mood, it comes in to tell us when its a happy scene, just so we know!
Overall it comes across as a cross between a fashion film and an exploitation movie.
In comparison, American, French or Japanese cinema from the same period doesnt have the same problems with showing harsh material or lower class lives but in a much tougher way, without sentimentality, and with a greater understanding of character and film style. Amongst other things, Bresson's 'Mouchette' comes to mind.