My Childhood Reviews
February 10, 2011
When we first started watching this, I thought it was a documentary. It reminded me of Ken Loach. We watched part of "My Childhood" but then needed to finish it the next evening. I had a sense of dread when we sat down to view it again. The hard cruelty and insanity of this child's family, and most adults except the German worker. There are moments when I was confused thinking this was Jamie's father, so warm were their interactions. These films are work but well worth the effort; a full meal. Reminded me of the "pure cinema" of Robert Bresson and "Au Husard Balthasar", to some extent; good children battling the harshness of the world, and the people in it. There were times when Jamie is sitting curled up under that table or outside when I despaired he would do injury to himself. I was so hoping when he fell backward onto that coal train, he would just keep going along with it. The previous comments from the gentleman who grew up in similar circumstances in a Scottish industrial town were very moving to me. His being reminded of his own childhood is a testament to Bill Douglas' gift of storytelling and marks these films very important indeed. The work of Terence Davies must have been influenced by Douglas, I thought of his "Distant Voices, Still Lives" quite a bit. There is an indictment of growing up in wartime U.K. that can't be ignored, and ultimately, the perils of growing up in poverty. I have to recommend the Bill Douglas Trilogy to anyone who appreciates a cinema verite film-making experience, but not for the faint of heart.