Looking for Eric

1st October 2012

So, last night saw another film fascist pop their MNFC-hosting cherry, and inadvertently reveal the workings of her inner psyche to us all through her film choice (actually, I’ll retract that statement about the inner psyche being revealed by one’s film choices – having gone from Scandinavian incest through replicants, vest/mullet-wearing heroes and faked orgasms to slow mo kung fu I’d hate to think what that says about what’s going on in my head!). Comrade Smith, D. followed in the footsteps of Comrade Reeves by acquiring a television specially for Film Club but in a more dramatic fashion, involving the television being driven across London in a cab and being set up barely 10 minutes before everyone arrived!


Di braved the perils of ‘heart-warming’ cinema to bring us Looking for Eric, a comedic and yes, at times, heart-warming look at the life of Eric Bishop, a depressed northern postman who turns to his hero, “flawed genius bastard” Eric Cantona for inspiration, philosophy and advice on how to turn his life around (I have to say that I wasn’t expecting quite so much gun crime and vigilantism from a film with ‘heart-warming’ on the cover. And I take issue with people being all sniffy about heart-warming films; what’s wrong with having your heart warmed on a chilly Monday evening, anyway?! Or any evening, for that matter?!!).

Eric Cantona played himself in the film, or a version of himself, and the other Eric was played by Steve Evets. Interesting facts about Steve are that he briefly played bass for Manchester post-punk band The Fall, and that Evets is Steve backwards; he made up the name after discovering that another actor was already working under Evets’ real name.

The film was directed by Ken Loach and written by his frequent collaborator Paul Laverty based on an idea that was brought to him by Cantona himself, about a football player befriending a fan. One of the characteristics of Ken Loach’s directing style is that he shoots in chronological order, only revealing scenes to the actors a few days before filming tales place. In order to get genuine and realistic reactions from actors in shocking or surprising situations, Loach will often not let the actor know in advance exactly what will happen in a scene. This happened to Steve Evets in the scene when he first starts talking to Eric Cantona: Evets had no idea that Cantona was even going to be in the film until he heard a French voice behind him and turned to see the footballer standing in front of him!

Ken Loach is well known for his social realist directing style and his willingness to tackle controversial subjects in his films, most notably Cathy Come Home in 1966, a film about homelessness and the welfare state that even sparked a debate in Parliament about the issues it raised. He also directed a film for the charity Save The Children Fund in 1971, which the charity disliked so much it prevented it from being screened for 40 years. Jon will be pleased to know that Loach credits The Bicycle Thieves as one of his main inspirations for going into film-making.

Post-film chin-stroking (or post-match analysis, if you will) resulted in general consensus that a northern accent makes everything funnier, and revealed that men can remember goals that were scored over a decade ago but not what happened 2 days ago. For girls it’s more likely to be the plot of Home and Away in the mid ’90s.

So, only 2 weeks until our next meeting (huzzah!), when we will initiate another MNFC virgin into the pleasures of being a film fascist. Sam will send out details for the session on the 15th at his house in Finsbury Park closer to the time. I leave you with 2 choices: for those who wish to do their homework, here is a very worthy biography of Ken Loach, courtesy of the BFI and some study notes on Looking for Eric from Film Education. For the rest of you, here is the trailer for Eric Cantona’s exciting new thriller on that there BlueTube.

Becca xx


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