Director Gilles Mackinnon / 1995 / UK

Glasgow, 1968: time for the McLean Brothers to decide where their loyalties ambitions lie. The eldest, Bobby, misses his dead dad, suffers nightmares and hangs out a local gang. Alan prefers to devote his time painting and Joanna, an uncommonly self assured lass known to have attracted the jealous attentions of various neighbourhood hardnuts. Lex, a spirited, feisty 13-year-old with artistic leanings of his own, is not only torn between lifestyles of his brothers, but is facing pressure from the hoodlum tribes who engage in violent battle in and around the estates.

It's hard to pin down exactly why Gillies MacKinnon's quasi-biographical rites-of-pass; movie, co-written with his producer brother Billy is so satisfying. There's an unflashy visual elegance at work and MacKinnon proves expert director of actors-here a mainly you relatively unknown cast whose naturalism do full justice to a script that is witty and perceptive about the confusions of adolescence. But what perhaps best distinguishes the film is unsentimental honesty. Everything from the bloody rumbles between rival gangs to the mysteries of courtship and Lex's first alcoholic binge seems somehow right-no small wonder given that the MacKinnon Brothers grew up these same notorious Glaswegian mean streets. This overall integrity, permeating every careful thought out detail, ensures that Small Faces, as exploration of the fine line that separates innocence from experience, is not only fun and engrossing but very moving.

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