Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Chris Shepherd "The Broken Jaw" (1997)

I featured Chris Shepherd’s short Ax Men in December. Interesting then to see his debut film made an astonishing thirteen years ago for Channel 4. The Broken Jaw traces the recent history of a city public house, The Broken Jaw, a hostage to fashion that changes with the generations. Zimmer frame at the ready a group of men cough and splutter their way into the bar to repeat the exercise, expelling sputum to all and sundry whilst imbibing beer and tobacco. A louder era follows, disco, karaoke, fighting, bouncers, bright lights and ejection of the regulars as the pub changes its name. Nothing stands still. A gentler age beckons but not for two sets of regulars. This really is an impressive piece of work. Sketched with a bravura freedom, the characters are set against a photo montage. Standing alone amidst the slums, the terraced houses surrounding it have been smitten by the demolition gang or surrounded by temporary structures of so-called modernity. An eloquent statement on the state of flux in today's world, overcoming the comic headbutts and spitting. It occurred to me as I watched that every generation idolises its past. Rose coloured spectacles and all that. But Chris never lets any dourness creep in. Witty and gritty, there's always time for a laugh, a karaoke knees up as the guys launching into a lively musical number. Great song too. Show stopping.

1 comment:

rohini said...

it was realy wonderful blog..!