Who Cares listens to the voices of Liverpudlians
being rehoused from inner city terraces to suburban high-rise estates. As we
hear them describe how the moves have affected them negatively, we see the old
terraces being demolished, boarded up houses, and vans taking people's
possessions to the new estates. The faceless 'Corporation' of Liverpool (the
local authority) has deemed that they must move, and few get any choice where
they move to.
To the people of Liverpool 8, the destruction of their housing is the
destruction of the security of their social world. A man relates how, as soon as
the first people moved out from his street, thieves came to steal the lead from
all the roofs. Extended families are separated and housed miles apart. As the
terraces are demolished, and the glass is systematically smashed from the
windows, children play in the ruins and throw stones at the vacated dwellings.
Loneliness comes to the old, even among crowds. After a woman comments that
she doesn't know anyone in her neighbourhood anymore, the music of Marcia
Griffith's 'Keep on Jumpin'' begins, and a montage of street scenes introduces the
first black faces we see. In the 1960s and '70s, West Indians commonly took the
place of the white working class in crumbling Victorian terraces. But no West
Indian voices tell us their how they feel about the area.
Who Cares was made 'with the help of' Sir Arthur Elton, co-director (with Edgar Anstey) of Housing Problems (1935), which 35 years earlier promoted rehousing working-class
communities in large new estates. Where Elton's film identified urban terraces with dirt, poverty and unhappiness, Broomfield's Liverpudlians mourn the loss of community and closeness the terraces brought, and find themselves unhappy and isolated in their brand new homes.