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UK, 1994 (MIFF 1995, Documentaries)

Director: Kim Flitcroft

Exploitation, in its many guises, is at the heart of this gritty, often heartbreakingly humor­ous documentary (an accusation that the film itself is not immune from) about the somewhat deluded aspirations of four desperados trying to make it in (or is that out of) the economically depressed northern England metropolis of Sheffield. Each are held in thrall to tabloid fod­der-inspired dreams of fame and fortune to the point that Tales From a Hard City at times seems more like an incredible fiction rather than harsh in-your-face reality.

There's Glen, the petty thief and local Karaoke king; Sarah, who's trying to parley her arrest in Greece for provocative disco moves into a musi­cal career with the single 'Dirty Dancing'; Wayne, the bar owner and cigar sucking would-be media mogul who's taken her under his rather predato­ry wing: and Paul, the ex-boxer come fledgling actor who has his sights set on a prestige car sponsorship deal-though he doesn't have his licence and ends up in the Skoda caryard!

All bare themselves before Kim Flitcroft's relentlessly inquiring camera with a suicidal can­dour that is difficult to look at but almost impos­sible to turn away from—voyeurism has never been so painful.

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