A few days ago, the French TV (I still watch TV sometimes !) played “Billy Eliott”, a 2000 British dance drama film produced by Greg Brenman and Jon Finn.
In 1984, Billy, an 11-year-old lives in Durham, a county in North East England, with his widowed father Jackie, and older brother Tony, both coal miners out on strike.
Billy’s father sends him to the gym to learn boxing, but Billy dislikes the sport. He happens upon a ballet class that is using the gym while their usual basement studio is temporarily being used as a soup kitchen for the striking miners. Billy joins the ballet class. When Jackie discovers it, he forbids Billy to take any more ballet. But, passionate about dancing, Billy secretly continues lessons with the help of his dance teacher, Sandra Wilkinson …
I grew up in Belfort, a working-class town at the time. I was myself from an upper middle-class family, but I loved this harsh industrial environment. It was a time when humility, solidarity, benevolence were seen as virtues rather than debilitating character flaws.
Later, I discovered the behaviour of this “meritocratic” ruling class, so convinced of its superiority. Initially fascinated by it, I know now that large swathes of this “elite” aren’t as good as they think they are. It’s why I’m now so proud to come from my working-class city of Belfort !
All this to say how I was very moved by this movie.
Soundtrack of the film was released on 11 March 2002, and includes several well-known rock and punk songs, including “I believe”, by Stephen Gately :
“Sometimes we win, sometimes we fall
But that’s no reason just to give it up, cause after all
If you can’t choose what to be
You can choose what to dream
And I believe
I believe in love, it’s the best of everything
I believe in hope and the changes it can bring
If you believe then nothing can stand in your way
Just say, (oh) I believe”
I wish you all a Happy New Year !
Iconography : the actor Jamie Bell on the making of “Billy Elliot”, a 2000 British dance drama film produced by Greg Brenman and Jon Finn.