Sunday, May 20, 2007

This is England

I have seen two really good films this week. The first was"Memento" which someone from college leant me on DVD and which I thought was excellent although I get the feeling that one might need to see it several time to get all the nuances of the plot. The second was "This is England" directed by Shane Meadows which we saw at the Odeon last night. I have to sasy that "This is England" is probably one of the best films that I have seen in a long while. It looked for a little while like they weren't even going to show it in Norwich at all and it probably won't be on for long. However, I have to say that I don't really understand what all the fuss was about - the message of the film is blatantly ANTI racist, although there obviously is racism and racist violence in the film.

I feel that we need to be able to confront this difficult era of our history - after all it is our history and I for one remember only too well what the eighties were like - in fact I was writing about that era only this week for my lifewriting assignment. We are happy enough to watch films about slaves and exploitation in other countries - or do we have to wait another hundred years before we can confront our past? And why is it that the sexism and racism portrayed in programmes like Life on Mars is ok but a film that deals with the issue in a more sensitive and meaningful way is not? I would be surprised if this film incited anyone to violence - and if they were they might be dim enough to be incited to it by any number of mindless action movies that are out at the moment.

Meadows has dealt sensitively with a difficult subject - the film is about skinheads - and shows how one person can manipulate those around him and the accute discomfort and fear of those caught in his web. All the actors are excellent especially the young boy Thomas Turgoose and the cinematography is at time very photographic. Some of the camera shots - even of mundane things like windows - are incredibly beautiful. The film is also full of news footage and radio broadcasts from the 1980s. Thatcher' speeches and footage from the Falklands war are especially poignant.