Bend it like Beckham - Case study - Paper 2 - WJEC.
Jess Bhamra (Parminder Nagra) lives in a London suburb, not far from Heathrow Airport. She is the youngest of two daughters in a Punjabi family. All Jess wants to do is play football. Her parents want her and her sister Pinky to be good Indian daughters. Pinky’s wedding is approaching and this puts more pressure on Jess. Her life changes when she meets Jules (Keira Knightley) and is encouraged to join the local ladies’ football team, Hounslow Harriers. Jess is fi nally doing what she loves to do but has to lie to her parents. The team go to Hamburg to play, where her relationship with Joe, the team’s coach, becomes much closer. Jess and Jules argue over Joe. Jess’s parents find out that she has been lying and she is banned from playing. The pressure on Jess is intensifi ed as an American football scout is due to watch an important cup match on the day of Pinky’s wedding, when all of these conflicts come to a head and are satisfactorily resolved.
Bend It Like Beckham is a British fi lm co-funded with Germany. It was released in the UK in 2002 and in the United States in March 2003. It turned out to be one of the surprise hits of 2002, making over £11 million at the UK box offi ce, while also proving popular with American and European audiences. It was directed by Gurinder Chadha who also wrote the screenplay with Paul Berges and Guljit Bindra. Filming took place on location in west London, specifi cally Hounslow (where the main characters live), central London and Hamburg, Germany. The film is a comedy which follows in the tradition of other recent British Asian fi lms which focus on family, generational and culture clashes, such as East is East (1999), Bhaji on the Beach (1993) and Anita and Me (2002).
Themes and Issues
Bend It Like Beckham deals with a variety of different themes and issues through the story of Jess and her desperation to play football rather than conform to the traditional female role expected of her. The ways in which Jess deals with the competing demands of British Asian culture drive the narrative. In the Hounslow Harriers changing rooms she tells her team mates, ‘Indian girls aren’t supposed to play football’. When one remarks, ‘That’s a bit backwards,’ she replies, ‘It’s just culture that’s all’. The fi lm’s title obviously refers to the skill used by David Beckham when taking free kicks. However, it could also be seen as a metaphor for the fact that Jess has to bend and adapt traditional rules and values in order to get what she wants. Issues about gender, particularly about what girls should or should not do, run through the film. Both Jess and…