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Brass band
Apr 12, 2005 03:38 PM 1820 Views
(Updated Apr 15, 2005 02:25 AM)





An Australian Labor politician Neville Wran once said, ?The best thing about being working class is getting out of it.?

The coal miners in the film ?Brassed Off? thought so too. At the period that the film started, collieries were closing all over Britain, but in South Yorkshire this Grimsby colliery was still open and making profit. After a hard working day down the dirty mine, miners are gathered together by the obsessive bandleader Danny, the brass band plays wide range of music, Rodrigo?s ?Aranjuez? (we call it ?orange juice? says Danny), Rossini?s ?William Tell?, English sentimental favorites ? Jerusalem?, ?Danny Boy?, ?Colonel Bogey? and ?All Things Bright and Beautiful??

One day, a pretty young woman Gloria appeared in front of the brass band with a trump, she asked to join the band. Danny wanted to lead the over one-hundred-year brass band to win in national competition. They found out Gloria was granddaughter of former member of the band and she was an ace brass player. She told everybody that she went back temporarily for her assessment. Andy the trumpeter recognized her as soon as she stepped into his sight. He once kissed her and now fell in love with her again.

Members of the brass band have their individual problems. Phil, son of Danny, he has a bad habit of gambling, it keeps him broke and he has four children and a poor disappointed wife, he and his families are struggling on the financial edge, he cannot afford to buy a new instrument, his wife doesn?t has enough money to support daily life. Meanwhile, Danny, the leader of the brass band, he has bad cough and his health is getting worse.

At the end we are reminded of the hundreds of mines closed and 250,000 jobs lost in Britain between 1984 (the year of the great miners' strike) and 1994. But surely the filmmakers are not arguing the trend of closing coalpits. Global warming alone means coal has had its day. The real crime was the failure to invest in alternative employment and to allow the destruction of the communities that had grown up around the mines.

The British State, which owned the mines for 40 years after World War Two, proved a harsher master than the old private owners. The film ended up by the brass band won champion in National Brass Band Competition. The most unforgettable scenes:

Scene 1: When Phil?s wife doesn?t has enough money to pay her grocery order, she?s about to tear, you can feel the atmosphere are extremely embarrassed and tense, the sympathetic cashier folded a banknote and handed over to her, you can feel her disappointed broken heart.

Scene 2: When member of brass band kiss their wives good-bye and head out to band practice, many of them with their tarnished old instruments tucked under their arms instead of stowed in cases -- you feel you're getting a sense of the texture of their everyday lives.

Scene 3: When the band members assemble after dark outside Danny's hospital room, where he's close to dying of black lung, they're wearing their miners' hats with headlight on so they can see. They're like a brigade of hopeful fireflies who just happen to know how to play ''Danny Boy'' on brass. They played passionately, better than before when Danny was commanding in front of them, because before they had too much to worrying and it?s hard to give a little attention to their practice.

And now Danny?s dying, some of them may feel deep despairing, some of them may feel shameful, no matter what it is, there?s a magic power inspiring them, it was an excellent brass band concert. It saved Danny?s life?

My thoughts

Generally speaking, I enjoyed the film. It is as marvelous as another British film Billy Elliot. They both narrated how under class people discovered and created the beauty of life through art.

The film has taught me that one doesn?t need to be familiar with brass band music while enjoying the music. You may live a humble life, but it shouldnot stop the way you look for the beauty of life. I admire the life style that the miners chose.

I donnot like the role of Phil. He is a typical irresponsible married man. As a son he did not give any care to his father until he was in deathbed, as a husband he did not share duties with his wife while she was struggling to look after their four kids, as a father of four he didn?t have the ability to raise them, he spent all his money on gambling, as one of miners, he betrayed the labour union during miners? strike because of little amount of money.

Besides, he seemed never enjoyed life, you never saw him happy. He hung up himself on the crane of the mine. Someone saved him. When Phil laid down on the stretcher towards the emergency treatment room, his father Danny was on another stretcher from opposite direction towards the emergency treatment room simultaneously. What a miserable life he has! You will never know who made his life like that. The film director gave the role a happy ending. His wife and children back to him and his father back to life. He even won the competition with other members in the national brass band match. But I reckon that was a good wish.

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Brassed Off Movie