47 Years of Student Run Cinema
Student Film Society of the Year 2002, 2005, 2006
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Andrea Arnold, United Kingdom, 2006, 117 minutes
Jackie is a CCTV op, everyday she stares at the city of Glasgow via the cameras, a passive voyeur. We see her going out with her boyfriend and going to a wedding but she remains somehow a mysterious figure, taking little pleasure in anything, perhaps in keeping with the silent nature of her work. One day she sees a man named Clyde on one of the screens whom she had last seen many years ago. She had clearly neither expected – nor wanted to see again and she becomes obsessed with tracking him, following him to the Red Road estate, gatecrashing his party, becoming friendly with his flatmates. As the film progresses we are drawn into her obsession and the secrets of her past – and how Clyde ties in with this.
The winner of the Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes Film festival Andrea Arnold’s debut feature film is British drama at its most compelling. The performances are as raw as the bleak Glasgow landscape that we see on the screen. It is brutal - certain sequences are not for the squeamish, but it is also funny and very humane. The characters are deeply complex - even the bit part players have stories which are sensitively explored, seldom watching a film do I feel as though I was watching people I could easily know yet here I did all the time.
Arnold has said that her main priority was to explore the truth and this is done brilliantly, raising it above the clichéd melodrama that usually applies to 'gritty realism’.
"When I started my research, I was very worried, and I've certainly heard a lot of unsettling stories about CCTV. But the people I met watching the screens were the kind of people you see in the film. That was the truth of it, so it was important to reflect that. Nothing's ever simple, is it?"
One of the truly outstanding films of 2006 and one of the best British films of recent years Red Road is a must see.
Review by Louise Oliver
Written for EUFS Programme Spring 2007