Social realism is a genre that is has been established as a British cinematic style. Social realism as a cinematic genre tackles challenging and difficult themes that are depicted in a harsh and often depressing style. Social realistic films contrast greatly with Richard Curtis romantic-comedies, such as 'Notting Hill' 1999 and 'Love Actually' 2003, that gloss over life's struggles through escapism; portraying a blissful and idyllic image of an affluent Britain through the light-hearted dilemmas that the typically British and comical characters face. Social realism contrasts greatly by such a drug abuse, prostitution ('London to Brighton'), illegal immigration and social injustice ('Dirty Pretty Things'), unemployment and economic hardships ('This is England), the difficulties when coming-of-age ('Fishtank') and others. Social realist films gain less distribution from mainstream cinemas and earn less recognition than big budget feature films such as Curtis' 'urban fairy tales' as they often appeal to niche audiences and mass audiences do not favour such sadistic and sinister themes evident in this genre of film. Social realist films often appeal to minority audiences as the working class are often the foundation of the plot and genres such as romantic comedies make larger box office profits, securing widespread distribution in cinemas, as they appeal to mass audiences and use stereotypical characters that international audiences recognise and feel comfortable with. Additionally, social realistic films often use unknown actors due to the small budget, whereas romantic comedies use A-list, worldwide established actors, such as Hugh Grant, in order to gain success at the box office earning a bigger profit.
Our group would like to explore social realism in our short film with possible themes of racism, multiculturalism and divisions in class. I feel that our initial ideas for our film are reminiscent of Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet'. The quote "Love goes towards love, as schoolboys from their books, But love from love, toward school with heavy looks."summarises the ideas and themes we have planned for our film. The quote means that lovers come together eagerly and as quickly as schoolboys run from their books and dread leaving their lovers as much as the reluctance a boy has going to school. Also, the 'with heavy looks' is representative of the dislike and disapprovement people have of the lovers being together which is, essentially, what our short film would be about; how society often disapproves of different races and classes being in relationships together. We would like to explore social realism as an overall genre as it is a genre associated with British cinema and would therefore be recognisably British. We'd also like to explore racism, multiculturalism and class as themes as we would be able to incorporate British iconography, such as red buses, through the representation of young people and explore all different areas of London, affluent and places suffering from economic hardships, that audiences would be able to immediately understand as British. Additionally, we feel that looking at multiculturalism as a theme is relevant and important to Britain today as it is continuously becoming an increasingly more multicultural country, particularly in London where our film will be set, and hopefully our short film will show different British peoples attitude towards it. Multiculturalism is explored in romantic comedy 'Bend it Like Beckham' 2002 but shown in a very positive way where an Indian family living in Hounslow have retained their Indian values and traditional whilst adapting to a western way of life with their daughter's having dual nationalities. We would like to show some of the negative realities of Britain being a very multicultural country in our film by showing the gritty and sinister racist side that is only very lightly acknowledged in Chadha's romantic comedy 'Bend it Like Beckham'. Our film will adopt a gritty and realistic approach to filming our short film by using kinectic camera work at various times and making the hue slightly greyish in order to create a negative atmosphere and dark tone. We would like it to be produced in a similar style of 'Dirty Pretty Things' that addresses the issue of illegal immigrants living in Britain and shows their situations in a gritty and dark way.