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Real to ReelA New Approach to Understanding Realism in Film and TV Fiction$
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Martin Sohn-Rethel

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780993071768

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9780993071768.001.0001

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Social Realism continued: some key re-inventions

Social Realism continued: some key re-inventions

Chapter:
(p.69) 4: Social Realism continued: some key re-inventions
Source:
Real to Reel
Author(s):

Martin Sohn-Rethel

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9780993071768.003.0005

This chapter assesses a range of highly diverse examples of 'social realism' — each offers new ways of expressing 'how things really are'. It considers social realism in the films of Shane Meadows, Clio Barnard, Andrea Arnold, and Steve McQueen. The chapter then explores the social realism in Larry Clark's Kids (1995). An altogether more iconoclastic, youth-centric social realism emerged in the mid-1990s in America with the work of Clark, a new wave asserting itself against the calcified norms of mainstream Hollywood. Kids charted its own distinctive realist territory when it exposed the precocious amoral sexual habits of urban American youth towards the end of the century. The chapter also looks at social realism in La Haine (Mathieu Kassovitz, 1995), City of God (Fernando Mereilles, 2002), and Elephant (Gus Van Sant, 2003). Common to all three is a spirit of stylistic innovation intended to roll back accreted convention and reveal a heightened, rediscovered realism.

Keywords:   social realism, Shane Meadows, Clio Barnard, Andrea Arnold, Steve McQueen, Larry Clark, youth social realism, mainstream Hollywood, stylistic innovation

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