In My Ain Folk (1973), Tommy is taken to a home whilst Jamie goes to live with his paternal grandmother whose cold contempt and mistreatment are only alleviated by her drinking habits. Jamie finds comfort in his relationship with his grandfather but when his grandfather commits suicide, there’s little left but the escapism provided by trips to the cinema to save him from despair.
“Describing the passage from memory to script to film, Douglas talked to Hassan and another editor, Charles Rees, in terms of both willpower and emotion: ‘Well when, say, I’m writing a scene with my grandfather sitting at a table or whatever it is, if it’s going to work for me, the scene, the writing, I’m totally within the atmosphere of the room... And when I see the man there who is going to be my grandfather, I will hypnotise him into being that thing. And he sits there, and I come and we look through the camera and I’m looking again for these sensations I felt when I was writing. Maybe I will it in there, I don’t know, but I believe it when I’m looking through the camera at that set-up... So that I’m just recapturing what I truly felt at the time—I laughed here when I was doing it, and when there was crying, I cried here when I was doing it—I really went through it all. I’m all the characters, if you like, and one is really putting that back again. And if I don’t feel it, then I know it’s a lie for me. And when we are in the editing, hopefully one is bringing that back. (qtd. in Noble, “Making” 122–23)’ But for Douglas, it was the editing that presented the most difficulties. According to West, ‘Douglas became more and more obsessive about certain aspects of the film that were to do with his own inability to dissociate himself from the actual life that he lived and the artefact he created. This caused him to ask for scenes to be cut or dropped. For example the father he had created on screen so disturbed him that he wanted the role diminished. (qtd. in Noble, “Making” 146).’”
- 1. Guy Barefoot, “Autobiography and the Autobiographical in the Bill Douglas Trilogy,” Biography, Volume 29, Number 1, Winter 2006, 14-29.