Saturday 19 October 1996
Independently funded and distributed, Kickout is the darkly comic debut of a 28 year-old whose only previous experience was a 16mm movie you'd be hard-put to find on video. The film is a shoestring triumph, but it hasn't been easy. When Hills' first put forward his script, the "New Town" had just spent pounds 2m on an ad campaign which told new business to "Come to Stevenage!" Hills' angsty teenage low-lifes did not fit the brochure.
Nevertheless, he began filming late in 1994. "The council made us send them advance location schedules. We were trying to capture the soulless squalor, the lack of community, but wherever we went it was spotless," laughs Hills. "After a while we realised they were cleaning up before we got there, even hoovering up leaves." More clean streets than Mean Streets, but Hills pressed on. When the film was complete the council tried to get an injunction to stop it being shown in Hertfordshire. "They should really have banned it outside the county," argues Hills, "because everyone who lives there already knows how horrible it is."
Like Hills, fellow brit-packer Shane Meadows has drawn on his own experiences to produce an edgy, contemporary realism distinct from the work of older auteurs Leigh and Loach. His first feature, Small Time, marks Meadows as an anarchic Coogan-like talent to watch. One of the highlights of Edinburgh, Small Time gets another screening next month at the London Film Festival.
Based on a Nottingham housing estate, the movie follows a group of shell- suited cons, led by Meadows' delightfully childish "Jumbo". The lads' criminal exploits (which stretch to ripping off dog food) are quickly subsumed in a story of partners, vibrators, class and gang loyalty. Meadows only picked up a camera for the first time in 1994 but, like Hills, he's a British director who looks ready to take up the mantle of Danny Boyle and give the US independents a run for their money.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
Best underrated Christmas movies from Trading Places to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga