Threads 1984 M
7.00PM Wed 14 Mar 2018 (1hr 52mins)
GOMA | Cinema A | Free
Thread will screen from a new 2K digital restoration.
More than three decades since its first broadcast on British television, Threads has cemented its reputation as an uncompromising and deeply disturbing masterpiece of nuclear cinema.
Working from a script by author Barry Hines (who had previously adapted his own novel 'A Kestrel for a Knave' for Ken Loach's Kes 1969), director Mick Jackson submerged himself in months of preparatory research about nuclear disasters and weaponry in an attempt to produce a painfully fathomable depiction of how international nuclear war would play out on English soil. Absent are macro-politicking and tales of heroism, in their place are working-class citizens subjected to apocalyptic destruction beyond their control or understanding.
The film is set in the mid-sized English city of Sheffield and primarily follows a young engaged couple, Ruth and Jimmy as they prepare for their reluctant wedding. News bulletins passing ambiently in the background of their lives detail a steady escalation of nuclear tensions between major superpowers. As the threat level grows, unprepared civil servants have emergency responsibilities foisted upon them while anti-government protests break out. Then, once the unthinkable finally occurs, any semblance of past society quickly begins to collapse.
What makes Threads stand out from so many of its similarly-themed Cold War companions is the inexorable relentlessness with which it delivers its message. Its nuclear attack centrepiece is a shocking collage of panic, destruction, heat, and anguish, but it is the extended aftermath of the bombing that remains seared in the minds of the audience. No film before or since has gone so far in depicting the calamitous hellscape of a post-nuclear war urban society - extending not only into the days and weeks following the attack, but also illustrating the structural and biological hurdles to rebuilding civilization in the years and decades thereafter.
The filmmakers utilise a grimy social-realist aesthetic to bring an immersive and naturalistic tone to the film, aided by the cast of relatively unknown actors. The narrative action is occasionally interrupted by voiceover and intertitles drily recounting facts and statistics in the manner of a newsreel, adding a broader perspective to the struggles of the film's characters while still shutting off access to the outside world.
Newly restored from original materials by the team at Severin Films in America, Threads is a riveting, draining, and totally essential landmark of cinema.
16MM, COLOUR, MONO, 112 MINUTES, UK/AUSTRALIA/USA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR: MICK JACKSON / SCRIPT: BARRY HINES / CINEMATOGRAPHERS: ANDREW DUNN, PAUL MORRIS / EDITORS: DONNA BICKERSTAFF, JIM LATHAM / PRODUCTION CO: BBC, NINE NETWORK AUSTRALIA, WESTERN-WORLD TELEVISION INC / PRINT SOURCE: SEVERIN FILMS, AMERICAN GENRE FILM ARCHIVE / RIGHTS: AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION / SCREENING FORMAT: 2K DCP
© 1984 ABC TV