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Liam is a 2000 British-German film directed by Stephen Frears and written by novelist/screenwriter Jimmy McGovern. McGovern (perhaps best known as the creator of British TV crime drama Cracker) adapted Joseph Mckeown's novel Back Crack Boy for this emotionally raw meditation on innocence and pain. Frears in turn was influenced by James Joyce's accounts of his stern childhood in late 19th century Catholic Dublin.
|Directed by||Stephen Frears|
|Produced by||Colin McKeown|
|Written by||Jimmy McGovern|
|Music by||John Murphy|
|Edited by||Kristina Hetherington|
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Set in Liverpool in the Great Depression of the 1930s, the story is told through the eyes of a boy, Liam Sullivan. Liam is taking instruction in preparation for his First Communion. His mother is a staunch Roman Catholic. His father loses his job when his shipyard closes. Meanwhile, his sister, Teresa, has bcome a maid for the Jewish family who own the shipyard.
Liam stutters badly under stress, and his strict religious education does not help. Teresa's mistress is having an affair, and the girl becomes an accomplice. Liam's father joins a group of fascists, who rail against rich Jews and cheap Irish labour. His brother secretly attends meetings with socialists. All of this is a microcosm of a more general breakdown of society.
Life becomes increasingly insecure and people retreat into their own belief systems. This leads to increasing conflict, leading inexorably to a single violent act[clarification needed].