How Bruce Springsteen’s music inspired the feelgood film of the year and said bollocks to Brexit 2 weeks ago

How Bruce Springsteen’s music inspired the feelgood film of the year and said bollocks to Brexit

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Springtseen fans were 'Born to Run' to the cinema and see it.

There's so much about Gurinder Chadha's new film, Blinded by the Light, to enjoy that it's hard to distill into one definitive moment. However, one line really does standout, when Roops says "Bruce Springsteen is the direct line to all that's true in this shitty world."

If you've ever found your spark from 'Dancing in the Dark,' comfort and hope from 'The Rising,' empathy by listening to 'The River,' and the infectious sense of adventure after experiencing 'Born to Run,' you'll know that this sentence is 100% accurate.

Simply put, Bruce is life.

Joyous, uplifting, and moving, Blinded by the Light is inspired by Springsteen's music and based on the acclaimed memoir by Sarfraz Manzoor. The film tells the story of Javed (Viveik Kalra), a British teen of Pakistani descent growing up in Luton during the late '80s.

Amidst the racial and economic turmoil of the times, he writes poetry as a means to escape the intolerance of his hometown and the inflexibility of his traditional father. But when a classmate introduces him to the music of Bruce Springsteen, Javed sees parallels to his working-class life in the powerful lyrics. As Javed discovers a cathartic outlet for his own pent-up dreams, he also begins to find the courage to express himself in his own unique voice.

Imagine Sing Street mixed with the giddy optimism of a John Hughes coming-of-age film, all soundtracked by The Boss.

If you have even the slightest emotional connection to Springsteen's music, you'll really enjoy Blinded by the Light and while movie fans will leave the cinema with a massive smile on their face, Chadha's film doesn't shy away from the bleak realities of England during Thatcher's reign of austerity.

The crippling spectre of unemployment, rampant racism against minorities, the neo-Nazi National Front parading through the streets, a divided country being governed by an unpopular leader.

Sound familiar?

Blinded by the Light may be set in 1987 but it's themes are incredibly prescient, something that drew Chada to the project.

"What happened was that we started working on the script in 2010 and then I made another movie," Chadha told JOE.

"After that film was released, I started wondering what I should do next but this script (Blinded by the Light) really did time with Brexit and all the ugliness that came out of that.

"Seeing all the xenophobia that was happening around the country, I just got so upset about all this and thought to myself 'I'm going to do this film next'. I got the script out and did my pass on it and everything that I felt about the ugliness of division, politicians using the race card and trying to divide us through class, I put all that sentiment into this script and all my anger is in the film.

"Of course, to soothe me, I found Bruce's music again and that's what he has always talked about. Even though the film is set in 1987, it's very prescient because we're dealing with the rise of the right all over Europe. Those National Front scenes, I didn't shy away from making them visceral and when we shot those scenes, people were upset because they felt so real."

Despite the ugliness of racism and division, there was one Springsteen quote that the director constantly kept referring to: "'Nobody wins unless we all win."

"It shows a different way to look at the world, and that's down to Bruce and his values, and what he sings about.

"I come back to his line that 'nobody wins unless we all win' and he stands shoulder to shoulder with everybody in struggle. If you appreciate people's struggles and you show that empathy, that's the sign of a good human being. You've a great map on how to live your life."

We love it, The Boss loves it and Springsteen fans will probably love it too when it's released on 9 August.

Clip via Entertainment One UK

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