As greater Manchester enters yet another lockdown, you may have some extra time on your hands. If so, then go back to your routes and try these four films with Manchester and Salford connections, all available on Amazon Prime.
- 24 Hour Party People (2002) IMDB Rating 7.3
‘This is not about sex drugs and rock and roll, although they are in it, this is about me, Tony Wiilson.’ In this semi fictional account of the real events that reshaped Manchester’s music scene forever. 24 Hour Party People follows celebrated son of Manchester Tony Wilson, as he sets out to create Factory Records, signing legendary bands such as Joy Division and The Happy Mondays and opening the infamous Hacienda nightclub. The Film is set and filmed across Greater Manchester with many scenes shot in Salford but predominantly in Manchester City Centre. Steve Coogan, another legend of Manchester in his own right, stars as Tony Wilson alongside a myriad of British talent , including John Simm (Life on Mars) Paddy Considine (Hot Fuzz) Andy Serkis (Lord of The Rings) and keep an eye out for a cameo from Salford Universities own Peter Kay. The film is hot from Wilson’s perspective with a narration from Coogan, in a similar style to Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street (2012). 24 Hour Party People gives an in depth, hilarious and often bizarre look in to the chaotic, drug fuelled movement that Wilson established, which captured Manchester in the 1980’s. You will become immersed in the culture and the lifestyles of the crazy characters who helped make this chapter of Mancunian history happen.
2. Looking for Eric (2009) IMDB Rating 7.2
‘I am not a man… I am Cantona.’ A bittersweet independent film, Looking for Eric is about much more than just football. Die-hard Manchester United fan Eric’s life has fallen apart, his wife has left him, his job is unfulfilling and his kids run rings around him. After a near-fatal car crash, Eric smokes some marijuana and begins to have visions of his favorite footballer Eric Cantona, who helps Eric re-establish himself in life. This film is a dark comedy with a powerful message and plenty of heartwarming emotional scenes. Starring Salford-born actor Steve Evets as Eric, and Eric Cantona as himself, in a surprisingly excellent breakthrough performance, Looking for Eric is certainly not just a film for Man United fans. Filmed in Swinton, Hulme, Chorlton, and Old Trafford, looking for Eric really captures hearts with its working-class characters and its gritty interpretation of the trials and tribulations of life, this film puts people first and is faithful to both Northern life, and the enigma which is Eric Cantona.
3. East is East (1999) IMDB Rating 6.9
‘I’ll never let the colour of your Dad come between us. It’s not fair coz I love curry an’ all.’ With cobbled streets, terraced houses a rich mix of ethnicities, and unrecognizably strong Mancunian accents, “East is East” is as Salford as they come. A drama/comedy set in 1971 Salford, East is East centers around a half English half Pakistani family whose lives are controlled by their strict Muslim father, who rules with an iron fist. However, when the children; who see themselves as British rather than Pakistanis, start to defy their father’s rules, chaos ensues. In this 1970s working-class setting, where immigration was on the rise, cultures clash in this realistic and faithful look into Salford’s past. Many of the cast are instantly recognizable from other British TV shows such as Emmerdale, Coronation Street, Shameless and this is England. East is east was written by Ayub Khan Din, who based the story around his own life. ‘The play was entirely autobiographical: my dad was a Pakistani chip-shop owner, my mum a Roman Catholic born in England. There were 10 of us kids (although we’re amalgamated down to six in the play), and we were as scrappy and defiant as the play shows, but we were all terrified of my father.’
Control (2007) IMDB Rating 7.7
‘Existence. Well, what does it matter? I exist on the best terms I can. The past is now part of my future. The present is well out of hand.’ Control is a powerful look at the troubled life of Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis, whose precarious mental health lead him to commit suicide at just 23, at the height of the band’s success. The film was directed by Anton Corbijn, a huge fan and the official photographer of Joy division. It’s only fitting that Corbijn serve as director since it was his early photographs of Joy Division that reflected the band’s dark, introspective songs. Control features many references to Greater Manchester, watch out for a poem from Salford born John Cooper Clarke during the film, which slots seamlessly in to the scene. Similarly to 24 Hour Party People, Control is a biographical film, however, this is a much more in-depth and gritty character study of the enigmatic singers personal life and psychosis and contains much more raw emotion and far fewer laughs. Filmed in black and white, Control has a depressingly beautiful feel to it which enhances the mood of the film and epitomizes the tortured soul of the protagonist.