Why have so many films of the "gritty realism" tradition been set in northern landscapes?.
There are several factors that have contributed to many films of the gritty realism tradition being set in northern landscapes. I propose a review of the evidence that Historical, Economic, Sociological, Political, Cultural and Gender based and Geographic factors explain why many films of the gritty-realist tradition being set in northern landscapes. .
As the term implies gritty films are concerned with realism, however any realism in films is an altered, sculptured realism designed to fit into a constructed narrative with suitable plot turns and drama. .
Dating back to the industrial revolution through to the "Thatcherite" years of the mid-eighties the north has been seen as predominately working class. This is because it is the industrial center of Britain and therefore attracted unskilled poorly educated workers which then formed into close communities eventually becoming big industrial cities that are now the established north Films depicting events in the north naturally show working class communities dealing with working class issues. The working class is imbued with an inherent sense of realism. This is due to the needs and issues that the working classes deal with being related to the baser hunter gatherer ideals of food and shelter. .
There are many examples of this in the gritty realist films in British cinema. For example in Billy Elliot (dir. Daldry, 2000)material consumerist concerns such as trainers are low on the main patriarchal characters list of priorities and The Full Monty is centered on five men who do something extraordinary in order to gain the means to simply live. Put simply due to the historically created socio economic map of Britain the north is structured in such a manner that makes a film set in this landscape inherently real, therefore making it a good setting for documentary style gritty realist films.