Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Dancing In The Dark (1990)

Dancing In The Dark is a short Channel 4 film from 1990 that seems almost completely forgotten, which is a shame as it stars a very young Douglas Henshall adopting a 'Cor Blimey' cockney accent.

An intriguing though not especially successful little drama, Dancing in the Dark deals with the contemporary issue of AIDS/HIV as well as racial tension.  A young upwardly mobile Asian woman (Tania Rodrigues) should be meeting up with friends to watch Bruce Springsteen in concert, but car troubles sees her stranded in a pub where she meets an initially lairy and mouthy former skinhead (Henshall). Gradually over the night the pair share their stories with one another, specifically the seemingly loutish male who turns out to be HIV positive. However neither this nor his former Bovver Boy behaviour deters the girl who begins to find him attractive and, at the short's close, exchanges phone numbers with the words "You best call me before I call you"

The shadow of My Beautiful Laundrette hangs over this offering somewhat, specifically in its notion of appearances being deceiving and the plot of former skinhead meets Asian, they fall in love... But it's achingly earnest, with clanging dialogue somewhat stiffly delivered making it feel like some kind of Public Information Film; HIV isn't necessarily a death sentence upon your love life seeming to be the film's message. Good intentions yes, but good intentions don't always make for good entertainment.

Seek it out on YouTube. It's only eleven minutes long, so don't be put off by the 30 minute running time - the user has just uploaded it three times for some reason!

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