Bill Douglas Trilogy
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Year: 1972 - 1978
TV System: Pal
Extras: Booklet; Documentary on Bill Douglas; Short Film; Interview. (82 mins)
Label: British Film Institute
Three of the most compelling films about childhood and adolescence ever made - released for the first time on DVD.
Bill Douglas's award-winning films - My Childhood, My Ain Folk and My Way Home - which the BFI is releasing together in a two-disc DVD set with special features, are three of the most compelling and critically acclaimed films about childhood ever made.
The narrative is largely autobiographical, following Jamie (played with heart-breaking conviction by Stephen Archibald) as he grows up in a poverty-stricken mining village in post-war Scotland. In these brutal surroundings, and subject to hardship and rejection, Jamie learns to fend for himself. We see him grow from child to adolescent - angry and bewildered, but playful, creative and affectionate.
In My Childhood (1972), eight-year old Jamie lives with his granny and elder brother in a Scots mining village in 1945. With his mother in a mental home, and his father absent, he is subject to the hardships of poverty. In My Ain Folk (1973), Jamie is sent to live with his paternal grandmother and uncle; a life full of silence and rejection. My Way Home (1978) sees Jamie's ultimate victory over his circumstances; after a spell in foster care, and a homeless shelter, he is conscripted into the RAF, where he embarks on a redemptive friendship with Robert, which allows him to emerge from his ineffectual adolescence to pursue his artistic ambition.
Watching the Trilogy is far from a depressing experience. This is cinematic poetry: Douglas contracted his subject matter to the barest essentials - dialogue is kept to a minimum, and fields, slag heaps and cobbled streets are shot in bleak monochrome. Yet with its unexpected humour and warmth, the Trilogy brims with clear-eyed humanity, and affection for an ultimately triumphant young boy.