•Sound- Music used in the film falls in to the genre of grime and hip-hop, attracting the target audience of urbanites who experience similar situations as the characters. The music used is produced by urban artists such as ‘Dizzee Rascal’, ’Lethal Bizzle’, and ‘Shystie’
•Language used by the characters is ‘patois’ or ‘Jafaican’ (a term coined to define a recent dialect of English, spoken mainly in inner city London). •The word is a neologism and is a combination of ‘Jamaican’, ‘African’, and possibly ‘fake’. •The dialect is said to contain many elements from the languages of Jamaica, West Africa, and the Indian subcontinent.
•The clothing worn by the actors is street wear commonly worn by the average teenager living in London. Teenagers can identify with the clothing and understand the ideology underpinning the text. Examples of clothing include hoodies, caps, trainers and jewellery. •The settings in the film reflect the realities of inner city life: council estates, shopping arcades, public transport. Much of the action takes place on the streets and may give the text authenticity and believability.
PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION
•Revolver Entertainment is the distributor of the film, and received its funding from the UK Film Council. •Revolver received £76,200, which supported the production of an additional 20 prints, as well as funding advertising specific to the teenage target audience. •The funding from the Film Council was an attempt to bring a broader range of films to audiences across the UK.
•The director and co-producer, Menhaj Huda used a budget of £600,000. He believes that the low budget adds to the authenticity of the film; each character has only 2 outfits, and there was no make-up artist working on the film. •The film was shot in 4 weeks on 35 mm. As a comparison, most mid-budget films would take between 4-6 months to shoot.
•It is quite difficult to define the genre that ‘Kidulthood’ falls into, however, the following categories could be applied: •Urban Drama- as the name suggests, a narrative with a city backdrop, usually dealing with issues such as crime, drugs, poverty etc. •Arthouse- A film intended to be a serious artistic work, often experimental and possibly not designed for mass appeal. •Tragedy- A text with tragic themes and/or resolution. •Social Realist- A text with subject or content taken from the contemporary scene, usually focusing on people or groups who are socially, politically or economically disadvantaged.
•The film represents the not so glamorous side of West London, and the issues which are taking place. •Critics have argued that the film promotes issues such as ‘happy-slapping’ and underage sex. •Kidulthood also represents black youths whom are often unrepresented in the media, or are depicted using negative stereotyping. •Consider the representation of women, age, class and race (revise notes already given).
•Class- conflict between the working and middle classes. •The film begins with a middle-class schoolgirl being bullied by working-class pupils. This contravenes the ruling class ideology, as the working-class are represented as having the power. •Throughout the film, the characters are going against the values of the bourgeois (the Marxist term for the middle classes. The term has therefore come to stand for conventionality and normality). They do this by having underage sex, taking drugs, and committing criminal offences. •Trife, Jay and Mooney are falsely accused of stealing by a white security guard- here, the ‘white ruling class’ is seen as wielding the power.
•‘Kidulthood’ follows the typical Todorovian narrative, with Katie’s suicide as the point of disequilibrium, Sam is the agent of disruption, and Trife’s death is a restoration of (an albeit tragic) equlibrium. •The resolution or restoration of an equilibrium is tragic as the protagonist dies. •We can identify Proppian characters: Sam is the villain and Trife is the hero. •Narrative is non-linear (there are flashback sequences) and follows a realist structure. •Strauss’s theory of binary oppositions is created between Sam and Trife – this helps the narrative to progress and the storyline to be resolved at the end.
•The primary target audience for the film seem to be urbanites and teenagers who will be able to relate to the content of the text. •The secondary audience may be those who are able to change things in society in order to tackle issues raised in the film. This may be those with power in society such as those in government etc. •Kidulthood and social groups: •Explorers- may be aimed at explorers due to their interest in, and ability to affect social change. •Social Climbers- may view some of the activities depicted (drugtaking/drugdealing) as aspirational and connected to a hedonistic/wealthy lifestyle.
USES AND GRATIFICATIONS
•Diversion/Escapism- could provide emotional release through close identification with the characters and tragic outcome. •Personal Identity- could identify with the situations that the characters face. •Social Interaction- may provide the audience with a ‘talking point’ especially due to controversial storylines and explicit content. •Surveillance- gives the audience information about the issues and lifestyle that young people may experience.
Kidulthood – Opening Sequence
Remember that in the exam, you need to analyse the text using both the key concepts AND media theory. The examiner will expect you to provide SPECIFIC examples from the text- it is not enough to describe what is going on, and/or comment very generally on the narrative.
Look at the representation/mise-en-scene of the playground in the opening sequence- it is a subversion of what we would expect a playground to be. Playgrounds have connotations of fun, and are supposed to be safe environments- the playground in Kidulthood is represented as the opposite of this.
The students are engaging in stereotypically ‘deviant’ behaviour: bullying, smoking, drugs and references to sexual activity. Representations of authority also challenge normative values, it is clear the teacher has no control over the students.
The ideology is therefore challenging our concept of the ‘ruling classes’ (traditionally white, male and middle class) and depicts a binary opposition between working classes vs. middle classes.
The genre is urban drama, and the codes and conventions of the genre are evident in the opening sequence- the inner-city setting, the issues represented, and the behaviour and language of the characters.
Media language– there are strong connotations of violence within the text- language is brutal and makes frequent references to violent/criminal acts. The undercurrent of violence is also conveyed through the NVC the characters display- Sam’s body language is dominant and aggressive, whilst Katie’s is clearly submissive, she is intimidated by Sam’s actions and behaviour.
The mise-en-scene clearly indicates the genre of the film (urban setting), and also helps to define the target audience; the characters are predominantly teenage. The clothes the characters wear also signify social status- Sam does not wear a uniform, as he is older , but his clothes also signify that he is ‘different’ from the others and helps to establish him as the ‘villain’. He also wears a hoodie, clothing which has connotations of anti-social behaviour.
The opening sequence features jump cuts which convey the frenetic atmosphere in the playground and are reminiscent of a music video style, one the primary audience will be familiar with. The parallel narrative features Trife modifying a gun, and helps to establish him as part of the central narrative- it is clear he is connected to the ‘world’ of the playground. Non-diegetic sound is used to heighten feelings of excitement/fear, as the violence within the opening scene escalates, so the sound increases in volume and tempo.
There are several binary oppositions evident within the opening sequence:
Middle class vs. working class
Authority vs. anarchy
White vs. black
Age vs. youth
There are also enigma codes established- what is Trife doing? How will the conflict between Sam and Trife be resolved?
Propp’s narrative roles may also be applied here- Sam is clearly the villain, whilst Trife is positioned as a possible hero.
Language is important- the ‘patois’ the characters use becomes a means of identification- the characters signal their belonging to a particular social group through the language they use. Contrast this with the way Katie and the teacher speak.
The primary audience for the text are teenagers/those in their early twenties whose experiences may directly mirror those represented in the film. For this reason, urbanites will also be part of the primary audience, as they may be able to identify with the lifestyle depicted.
Secondary audiences may be those with an interest in youth or urban issues, it may also attract the attention of policy makers etc who have responsibilities for the social groups portrayed.
Uses and gratifications:
- Surveillance- the text informs/creates awareness of youth/social issues
- Personal Identity- the audience may be able to identify with particular situations/geographical locations/social groups.
- Diversion and escape- the audience use the text to be entertained.
Aspirers may be attracted to the lifestyles represented in the film: some may find ‘glamour’ in the drugs/sex/criminality within the text, issues which are all established in the opening sequence.
Carers and Sharers may react to representations of urban deprivation/crime, triggering the need to ‘help’ or become more socially aware.