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UK, 1979 (MIFF 1981)

Director: Stephen Frears

Stephen Frears made his remarkable feature film debut with the film Gumshoe starring Albert Finney as a would-be comedian with a Raymond Chandler addiction. Its artistic success was never paralleled at the box-office and Frears has worked exclusively in television ever since. His most notable work there has been in collaboration with the playwright Alan Bennett. Bloody Kids was made for television under the aegis of Lew Grade's Black Lion Films. It brings together three of the most interesting talents to emerge in British television drama in the last ten years: producer Barry Hanson (The Naked Civil Servant, Out, etc.), writer Stephen Poliakoff (City Sugar), and Frears. The film is a tense urban drama centred around two eleven year-old boys, the manipulative Leo and the manipulated Mike, growing up amid conflict and violence in a British seaside town. The story concerns a Saturday afternoon prank that goes badly wrong; a prank designed by Leo to test the fallibility of the police, so different from their television counterparts. “The general theme is commonplace enough, the alienation of the young, the stuff of newspaper headlines; and familiar too from Poliakoff's own Hitting Town and City Sugar, disturbing dramas of urban pressure adapted to TV. But it has never been quite so stunningly realized as here... Bloody Kids is quite simply the best television movie I've seen.”

Paul Madded Sight and Sound

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