Teachers love it, many students simply hate it: the film "Billy Elliot". I have shown this film to my students several times, and time and time again I have heard that this is a film for sissies. Neverthelsess, I believe this film can illustrate many elements in British society, if the students are just willing to look beyond the plain story of a boy who finds more pleasure in ballet classes than in boxing. In this film we can see the fragile relationship between father and son, an eleven year old boy missing his mother, and a community which is totally paralysed by the longest lasting miners' strike in British history. When working with this film, it also makes sense to discuss regional differences between the northern and southern parts of England, social classes, what kind of expectations out society has to boys and girls, and to which extent it is important to pursue your own dreams in life. It is a fact, though, that this film is almost ten years old, and that most of our students believe 1984 to be in the Stone Age... Anyway, under I have listed some resources on the film, and despite protests from the students, I believe I have not shown Billy Elliot at school for the last time in my career.
Photo: Arts journal