Thursday, December 25, 2014

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"NEDS" Takes Dark Look At Scottish School System

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One of the most acclaimed filmmakers showing his work at this year's Tribeca Film Festival is Peter Mullan, a Scottish writer and director best known for 2002's "The Magdalene Sisters." NY1's Neil Rosen sat down with Mullan to talk about his latest film, "NEDS."

In the movie "NEDS," which stands for "Non-Educated Delinquents," viewers follow a young man from Glasgow in the 1970s who wants to better himself, but is constantly influenced and defeated by his downspiraling environment, which includes a bad-seed older brother, an abusive father and gang violence all around him.

It was written and directed by Peter Mullan, who several years ago made my favorite film of the year, "The Magdalene Sisters." I caught up with him at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Neil Rosen: Did you know anyone like John McGill growing up?

Peter Mullan: When I was a kid, in some degrees, I would say I was pretty much like John. I joined gangs mainly through a sense of injustice and I remember thinking, and it's a line that's in the film, "If you want a NED, I shall give you one." It was a sense that I was acutely aware that there was a glass ceiling over my head, that in some respects was more than just glass, it was thick as concrete. Because of the activities of my brother and because of my domestic background and my class, I felt like I was being unfairly discriminated against, through actions that I hadn't committed.

Rosen: Do many people get out of that place?

Mullan: Yeah, but it's harder, depending what class you come from. Social mobility, now, in my country, I think is less likely than it was, even then. I think we're going back the way. I think that glass ceiling has been lowered by generations of neglect and poverty and social depravation. That's the saddest thing. Education has also suffered very, very badly in my country.

Rosen: Your films are so dark. Ever think of doing a comedy?

Mullan: You see, I think they are comedies. That’s how sick I am.

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