Tuesday, 15 January 2013


Hello everyone! I recently re-watched a show that I saw a couple of years back called "Threads". After seeing it again I've felt compelled to write about it and highlight it to people who haven't seen it.

"Threads" was a one off show commissioned for the BBC. It was first shown in late 1984, on BBC 2, then later on BBC 1 in mid 1985 to mark the 40th anniversary of the atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The shows plot depicts the long term effects of a nuclear war in Britain, focusing on what would happen on a smaller scale to places outside London. When Britain becomes involved in nuclear war, the government would go underground. When all communication is lost, smaller authorities outside London would have full control of the towns or cities in which they reside until communication is re-established with the main government. The show focuses on what would happen in the city of Sheffield.

"Threads" is a filmed in a documentary style, with brief narration at the beginning, and facts about the effects on Britain. The main plot at the beginning is about two lovers, Jimmy and Ruth, and their families. They go on about their lives, ignorant to the fact that an international crisis is occurring overseas in the Middle East, involving the Soviet Union, America, and Great Britain. The show focuses more on the families in the beginning, and the global conflict plays out in the background. People seem too wrapped up in their own lives to see the bigger picture and the threat that is literally on their doorstep. That is, until shit gets real and war is imminent.

The second plot is about key members of the Sheffield City Council making preparations in a bomb shelter underneath the Town Hall for emergency operations.

A good 40 minutes is used to establish these people in each storyline. You become involved in the lives of these families which makes it that bit more powerful when the bombs hit. Some of the members of each family survive the initial blast, but over time due to radiation or injuries these numbers fall. In the bomb shelter, the makeshift local government are trying, and failing desperately, to direct services above ground. The Town Hall has collapsed above them, making it difficult to get them out. Meanwhile, toxic fumes are seeping into their air conditioning.

The show doesn't just show you what happens in the coming weeks, but what happens over the course of 13 years! Those who don't die from the initial blasts have radiation sickness and very likely a slow death to look forward to. If you're lucky enough to survive that, you have long term exposure to radiation and the harsh weather conditions to survive. You have little to no chance to grow crops due to irradiated soil, and the prospects of having a child that isn't stillborn or deformed is slim. After 13 years, the population is back to mediaeval levels. Money means nothing any more, food is the only thing worth trading. The only way to get food is to help the new government rebuild the country. Looters are pretty much shot on sight.

Out of all the films I've written about on the blog, this is by far the most bleak, pessimistic, and cold thing I've seen. It's totally unflinching in it's portrayal of suffering in the face of nuclear war. What's most jarring is that it spends the first 40 minutes almost intimately portraying the two families and making you identify with them. Also the amateurishness of the acting amplifies how harsh the second half of the film is. There is literally no respite from all the horrors it shows you.

The shows facts are mostly taken from a home defence exercise to evaluate the effects of an attack from Soviet Russia. This exercise was called "Operation Square Leg". Scientific advisors also helped overlook the production of the show.

I'm not sure how much of the show is sensationalised or exaggerated for shock value, and I'm sure the tactics used for nuclear war are a lot different now due to advances in technology, but I feel some of the themes are still quite relevant today. This show has not lost it's power to shock and I'm also quite frankly amazed that the BBC had the balls to show this. I do highly recommend it, though be warned, it's not something to watch if you're feeling depressed!

Thank you for taking the time to read. Please feel free to post your good and bad comments below, and if you have seen this, let me know your thoughts. To those that haven't seen it, I've posted the entire show below!


Sunday, 6 January 2013

Over 10,000 Views!!!!

Thanks to everyone who has ever read or commented on the blog! I just noticed today I have over 10,000 views on the blog. Maybe they're mostly from me, or people coming on to take the pictures (I'm guilty of that too haha!), but I do know at least some people are reading and helping by sharing the blog!

10,000 views may not seem a lot, fuck some people get that in a day, but I don't really expect anybody to read the shit I have to say. I just do the blog for myself and to connect to people with the same interests in film. I don't have many followers or whatever and I don't really care to be honest, but I am glad to have formed some friendships with people who have similar tastes as mine.

Once again thanks to whoever has taken 5 minutes out of their schedules to read this crap!


Bad Boy Bubby

Hi there! This is the first blog post of 2013, I hope you all had a great New Year with plenty of food and booze!

"Bad Boy Bubby" is an experimental film made in 1993, and was written and directed by Rolf de Heer (who made the equally experimental "Alexandra's Project" in 2003).

Bubby (Nicholas Hope) is a man who has been kept inside the same room for 35 years, as long as he's been alive really. His mother, an overweight, quite repulsive woman, has brainwashed Bubby into believing that the outside world is horrible. To keep Bubby from being too adventurous, she tells him the air outside is poison, and has a gas mask hanging beside the door that she puts on when she wants to leave the house. Whenever she leaves, to keep Bubby still and well behaved, the quite literally put's the fear of God into him. There is a cross hanging from the wall that his mother says is always watching him, and if he misbehaves, God will beat him brainless. At nights, his mother sleeps with him and says he's a good boy.

Bubby's only way of learning is from mimicry. He has a pet cat in a cage that he abuses on a daily basis. Bubby pretends that he is his mother and pretends that the cat is him. One day he asks his mother what it's like when you can't breath, so she put's her hand's over his nose and mouth to show him. He becomes obsessed with this concept, using cling film to cover his face. Eventually he experiments by using the cling film on the cat and killing it, learning a valuable lesson about life and death in the process.

One day when he's alone, there is a knock on the door from a man who shouts a few things through the door and that he'll be back. Bubby gets quite excited! This is the first time he has had any interaction with a human apart from his mother. She comes back home from whatever she's been doing, and Bubby mimics what the man shouted through the door, making her slightly nervous. Eventually the man does come back, and the mother lets him in. He's a scruffy man dressed like a priest, and it ends up that he's Bubby's father.

Pretty soon, his dad has pretty much came to the conclusion that his son is some sort of wierdo (due in part to the fact Bubby always mimics him), and his mother starts to neglect him (more so than usual). One day his mum and dad leave the house, and he wears his dad's priest uniform and goes around pretending to be him (whenever he does this, he always seems to remind me of Nick Cave!).

Eventually his mum and dad come in drunk and kick him out the house, which doesn't go down well at all! His mother throws the gas mask out into the close so he can breathe. When he gets back into the flat, he destroys everything in a rage, and when his mum and dad come back in again from their drunken antics, he disposes of them with cling film while they are sleeping.

After a couple of days of not being fed, he starts to get hungry and decides to venture out into the great outdoors. He quickly finds out the world is nothing like his mother described, and that the air is not poisoned. Throughout the rest of the film, Bubby gets into all sorts of different situations. He joins a rock band (which ends up very popular), gets a girlfriend, has children, but also learns some harsh life lessons along the way. He starts off his journey into the unknown like a child, mimicking everything he sees, but matures as the film goes on. At the end of the film, things seem to be going all right for him.

The film has had it's fair share of controversy throughout the years, and upon release generated a lot of anger mostly from animal rights activists and the press, due to some very convincing scenes of animal cruelty towards cats (and quite deservedly so). It was only passed uncut in the UK in 2007, and the blu ray which I own has a booklet pretty much dedicated to detailing how the director dealt with the BBFC in respect to these scenes of alleged cruelty. This booklet has the letters which de Heer wrote to the BBFC and an Italian animal welfare group, which are convincing enough to me, and apparently to everyone else that read them, that the animals were well looked after and not put under too much stress.

I do have to admit, the films first act is pitch black in tone. These scenes are where most of the controversy lies. Violence, incest, animal cruelty, and a few other taboos are dealt with in these scenes. Once Bubby gets outside, the films tone lightens up quite a bit. In my screwed up mind, I see this film as an alternative feel good movie. Even someone as messed up as Bubby, can end up happy in the end.

As I said before, this is an experimental film. Director Rolf de Heer implemented some strange techniques while making the film. Microphones used to pick up dialogue were placed behind in main actor Nicholas Hope's wig behind his ears to give the impression that you're hearing things through Bubby's ears. The room that Bubby lives in for the first 35 years of his life starts off large, but ends up getting smaller by the end of the first act, to show Bubby's psychological state. There were 31 different directors of photography used in the film. When Bubby goes into the real world, a different director of photography is used to give each new thing that he sees a sense of individuality. In my eyes, de Heer is mostly successful in his techniques.

The film also won four awards in 1994 from the Australian Film Institute. Best Director, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Editing.

I hope you have enjoyed what you've read. Please feel free to leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts on the film. If you haven't seen it before, I hope I've highlighted it as a film you should watch soon. It's worth a watch!

Thank you,