IT ’S A SIN PRODUC T I ON .
R ussell T Davies’ highly acclaimed drama, It’s a Sin , is something of a companion piece to his groundbreaking classic Queer as Folk – a gorgeous fantasy, designed to counteract the historic prejudice surrounding gay urban life. What it did not do was look at the darkness out of which such freedoms emerged, and which shadowed the lives of its party people. In short, it did not deal with the effects of Aids on the gay community. It’s a Sin does. Without losing any of Davies’ gusto, joy or subtlety, the show follows the lives of three young gay men – Ritchie, Roscoe and Colin – who move to London and evolve into each other’s logical family, alongside Ritchie’s university best friend, Jill. But the group
the eyes of people who lost so many friends was a heartbreaking twist on my experience. Still, It’s a Sin is not about death, but about life – and although it’s a tear-jerker, there’s a note of positivity that shines through Davies’ writing.” That positivity was also Davies’ direction for the visuals. The series shuns typical depictions of gloomy Thatcherite London, with colour and verve that is a pertinent reflection of the screenwriter’s own experiences from that time. Katznelson recalls Davies talking about the era with joy: “He spoke of The Pink Palace [the raucous new houseshare of Ritchie and his friends] and the fun he had at parties. But more than that, he said the era was about being free – life was finally being lived by the LGBTQ+ community.” Embodying this memory, Katznelson’s movement of the camera was unmotivated – and he would often shoot handheld to capture the vibrancy of the young characters, with quick push-ins and
arrive in 1981, just as the first reports of a new disease are making their way across the Atlantic. As the series navigates through the decade, never shying away from the gut-wrenching horrors of the Aids crisis, it has plenty of room for joy, too. A balance that is not only crucial in providing a spoonful of sugar to make the historical medicine go down, but to demonstrate that not all was lost when “It was one of those scripts I couldn’t put down,” says DOP David Katznelson, as he reminisces about his time on the production. “I was a teenager during the eighties – and although I remember the Aids crisis well, revisiting it through this disease descended. THROUGH A LENS
A DIFFERENT SIDE Taking place in eighties London, the creators were keen to show the lively side of a time often portrayed as drab
Did you know? Russell T Davies sought a gay director for the project, to make sure that the camera was focusing on the right things. He didn’t want it to be remote, but intimate. Peter Hoar was invited to the role – and he chose David Katznelson as his DOP.
19. SEPTEMBER 2021
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