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BRASSED OFF!

SYNOPSIS:
Grimley Colliery Band is a bastion of the local mining community in Yorkshire, with the music representing the very lifeblood of its people. The fortunes of the community hang in the balance, as a wave of pit closures sweeps the North of England. For Danny (Postlethwaite), leader of the band, music is everything, at the risk of other elements in his life. His son Phil (Tompkinson) also plays in the band, sacrificing his mortgage payments for a new trombone, the last straw in his marriage. When Gloria (Fitzgerald), the granddaughter of a beloved former band leader and childhood sweetheart of trumpeter Andy (McGregor) turns up, playing the sweetest flugelhorn, everyone is besotted - at first. Then they discover she is doing a survey for the pit bosses and she turns to mud. Andy has a problem. She has a problem. Danny has a problem. Phil continues to have a problem. The band has a problem - split between wanting to compete in the finals at the Albert Hall and closing down to mourn the pit. Meanwhile, Danny is dying of too much coal in his lungs…

"This beautifully crafted film with a great script and strong performances delivers a surprising powerful emotional impact. It creeps up on you, and before you realise it, you have been swept along on a journey which leaves behind many images, which subsequently become etched into the mind. We are drawn into this drab hard-working mining community where music colours the bleak lives of its close-knit members by wonderful characterisations and performances. The characters are complete and multi-dimensional and the exploration of their relationships to each other satisfying. Pete Postlethwaite gives a wonderful understated performance as band leader, Danny, to whom music is everything. That is, until he goes through the film’s emotional journey. The relationship between Danny and his son Phil, played so poignantly by Stephen Tompkinson, is handled with sensitivity and subtlety. The scenes where Phil is dressed as Chuckles the Clown are filled with pathos and tragedy; here is the colourful clown with obscenely huge red feet and nose, playing the fool, when inside he is losing his will to live. There is no scene more memorable than the one where the burly band members congregate under Danny’s hospital window at night wearing their mining helmets with headlights and play the most heavenly rendition of Danny Boy, which builds and builds musically until our emotions overflow. It is a most satisfying journey, and leaves us with a lasting impression of the joy and strength of the human spirit."
Louise Keller

"This is the sort of film the Brits have always made so well - and still do. Last year it was Secrets and Lies, this year it’s Brassed Off. Understated emotions near brimming over, the mundane view of lives on a day to day footing, the absence of anyone remotely beautiful in the traditional sense, the cold light on England’s poor cities and citizens … nothing that would alert you to emotional high voltage. And then it hits you. Seething but buried passions, truncated emotions, conflicted ambitions, complex issues, politics and humanity, the irresistible force of love . . . all buried in the apparently simple tale about a colliery band that may or may not survive, may or may not win the national championship, that may or may not be the bastion and refuge for its members who are neither heroes nor scoundrels but like us, seekers of meaning. Pain and exaltation swirl about in this wonderful film with riveting power."
Andrew L. Urban

"Only the British could craft a film that fuses music with social politics, and a wry undercurrent of humour, and make it all work as a seamless whole. Brassed Off, which opened this year's Sundance Film Festival to a somewhat puzzled American audience, is not quite the feel-good film that its advertising misleadingly suggests. Rather, it's a deeply moving and sad account of a community in tatters, one ultimately brought together by the single-minded vision and determination of band leader Danny, a man whose life has been virtually destroyed by decades of the mine's dust. Yet in the name of the colliery that threatens not only his life, but that of his son, so wonderfully played by newcomer Stephen Tompkinson, he doggedly is determined to take "his lads" to London's Albert Hall and win a grand final, financed by the very government destroying his community. After all, as he keeps reminding the band, "music is the only thing that matters", but as he also discovers, is it? The film is an intimate and very human study of a community at risk, and it's done with inordinate humanity, warmth and depth. The performances are uniformly sublime, with Pete Postlethwaite always in charge as the rigid Danny. The film also has a sub-plot involving a romance between outsider Fitzgerald and naïve miner McGregor, but this is more of a distraction and is possibly the film's only flaw. Apart from that, this is consummate British film making, and the music, which is the film's heart and soul, gives this rich and rewarding piece, an added dimension."
Paul Fischer

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Pete Postlethwaite as Danny


Tara Fitzgerald as Gloria


Ewan McGregor as Andy

STEPHEN TOMPKINSON INTERVIEW
TARA FITZGERALD INTERVIEW

BRASSED OFF (M)
(UK)

CAST: Pete Postlethwaite, Tara Fitzgerald, Ewan McGregor, Stephen Tompkinson

DIRECTOR: Mark Herman

PRODUCER: Steve Abbott

SCRIPT: Mark Herman

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Andy Collins

EDITOR: Mike Ellis

MUSIC: Victoria Seale; Brass Band Co-ordination: John Anderson

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Don Taylor

RUNNING TIME: 107 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: REP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 14, 1997

AUSTRALIAN VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: PolyGram

AUSTRALIAN VIDEO RELEASE: July 21, 1998







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