ELEPHANT is considered to be one of the definitive dramas to feature the Irish Troubles which puzzles me slightly . It's certainly not even the definitive work by Alan Clarke on the subject . That would be Clarke's 1985 CONTACT featuring a platoon of 3 Para patrolling " Bandit Country " in South Armagh . MEMORIES OF ELEPHANT gives a very short retrospective on Clark's 1989 film
Despite the presence of Gary Oldman who appeared in Clarke's football hooligan drama THE FIRM this all too short is rather pointless . We hear from film critic Howard Schumann ,screenwriter and director David Hare and Clarke's own daughter Molly . It's obviously marketed to film students as we hear such words as " auteur " and to be fair Clarke was a hugely influential director who inspired such people as Gus Van Sant and Gary Oldman himself who directed the tough and gritty NIL BY MOUTH . Unfortunately the criticism of simplifying sectarian murders is never addressed . That's my problem with ELEPHANT - people getting blown to bits by republican bombs and people getting tortured to death by loyalist gangs is never shown
There is another important element missing and that is the producer of ELEPHANT is never interviewed . The name of this BBC producer is Danny Boyle who later left the BBC and went on to direct such films as SHALLOW GRAVE , 28 DAYS LATER and SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE . I remember immediately after ELEPHANT was broadcast Boyle gave an interview on THE LATE SHOW where he said something along the lines of " We're not arrogant Englishman coming over to Ireland to solve the troubles . That's not what the film is about " and I've wondered what his views were in retrospect . Sadly this all to short feature leaves us still puzzled
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