Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Billy Elliot [Film]

[Universal, 2000] Durham, England is the setting for this wonderful and under seen film about a British young man's self-realization that he wants to dance rather than box. Billy's father is a coal miner engaged in a long, bitter strike. Billy stumbles into a ballet class on his way to the boxing gym. He discovers the exhilaration and freedom of the dance. It takes him away from his difficult existence in a declining town. His father is angry at his son's interest in a "girl's" activity. In the end his father scabs so that his son can get an audition in London. Only a person with true support for and experience with unions can appreciate what a sacrifice his father makes. Few American kids will get it. If you are that union-experienced father, you will. Many people will underestimate its meaning. The film offers a glimpse of life in declining part of Europe. The poor quality housing, the dinginess of the sky and streets, and the sense of personal decay and entrapment are vivid.

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