A gloomy everyday realism has characterized and almost defined British film. The films depict the working class poverty and difficult conditions and are supported by the political left's concern for society's increasing differences. The films come dangerously close to social pornography, especially when the issues are embraced by directors with a privileged background who seem more compelled to transfer class guilt than the incentive to create something based on authentic experiences.

Scheme Birds is not one of these films, although it may seem like it at first.

The action takes place in the Scottish town of Motherwell south of Glasgow, formerly known as the capital of the steel industry, which has now stagnated in an economic recession after the said industry was hard pressed under Margaret Thatcher's regime. The steel mills were closed down in turn, and today only one steel mill remains, which reopened in 2016.

Motherwell is portrayed as a bleak city, devastated by drugs and crime, where the male section of the population is in and out of prison.

"If you stay here, you either get locked up or end up in the thick," says young Gemma. We follow her through several years as she tries to navigate the beginnings of adulthood – where everything speaks to her success and where perseverance and determination are required.

Scheme Birds – Trailer from Syndicated on Vimeo.


social Realism

The directors Fiske and Hallin have made a documentary, but the intimacy and access to the characters' privacy means that it could just as well have been a social-realistic fiction film. The director duo comes from Sweden, but they allow the protagonists room to describe and define the relationship to the environment in which they live, to impose premise, without milking the tragedies for their shocking content.

The story of Gemma and her loved ones misses neither tragedy nor accidents, but the way this is told stands out. Instead of suffering as sensationalism, we find – as in many of the films about Britain's poor – a low-spoken, heartfelt goodness and hope that is embedded in a world where daily trials are normal.

Gemma. . .

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