How "Northern Soul" Recreated An Era And Became The Best British Film Of 2014
Writer/director Elaine Constantine talks us through her stunning debut.
Northern Soul is the debut film of renowned British photographer Elaine Constantine.
The film is the coming of age tale of John, a shy, awkward young man who is introduced to Northern Soul; black American soul music that was popular in the North in the '70s.
Set and filmed in working class towns in Lancashire, the film expertly recreates the era, with meticulous attention to detail and a real affection for the music and culture of Northern Soul.
The film was something of a surprise hit, originally scheduled to open in a handful of cinema, ended up playing on 160 screens around the UK.
After failing to get private investment or arts funding, Constantine and her husband, producer Marco Santucci, remortgaged their home to make the film.
The labour of love is evident throughout the film, in the authenticity of every shot.
Constantine told AnOther: "When I first started talking about this film on social media, I had a lot of gatekeepers attacking me."
"But when they saw us posting our dance club videos on YouTube of young kids getting into it a lot of them completely switched around."
"I don’t think it’s about “This music’s ours, leave it alone”, I think it’s more “Don’t misrepresent us”."
With a soundtrack featuring Marvin Gaye, Edwin Starr, Shirley Ellis, and dozens more, the film sounds as incredible as it looks.
On her passion for the music, Constantine told The Quietus: "It’s got a melancholy sort of feel to it, mixed with euphoria, which is a very strange contradiction and it makes my emotions just lurch."
"Every time I hear certain records and it doesn’t matter how many times I hear it, the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end."
"And that’s why it won’t die because it has that ability and effect to make that happen to me after 35 years or more of listening to it."
The film also stars Ricky Tomlinson, James Lance, Lisa Stansfield, and Christian McKay, and is out now on DVD.
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