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Tragedy of the real turf war.

DIRECTOR Penny Woolcock told this week's London Film Festival that she had chosen to set 1 Day in Birmingham because "film-makers generally ignore it".

She said: "There are two big gangs known as the Burgers and the Johnsons, separated by postcodes.

"I gradually realised that many of the boys on opposite sides were closely related. They had attended the same primary schools, their mothers and grandmothers still worship at the same churches, and none of them knew why the war had started.

"If you are a young man born in a particular place, you will be affiliated whether you like it or not. Youmay not get involved to the extent of carrying a gun but you can't ignore it.

"The most active young men refer to themselves as soldiers and to their friends in the cemetery as fallen soldiers. Individually, they will acknowledge that the war must stop, that there have been too many deaths, but it's not easy to go against the group."

She said it all started when boys were excluded from school.

Miss Woolcock, whose next project is Bizet's The Pearl Fishers for English National Opera, added that she had always intended 1 Day to be a musical.

"The best lyrics have sophisticated internal rhymes, use onomatopoeia for percussive effect and can spin the emotional intensity of a verse or the meaning of a story on a single word," she said.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Oct 23, 2009
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