Thursday, 26 April 2007

Shane Meadows - This Is England tasks







Research tasks - This Is England.

Using the headings below, conduct synoptic research for This Is England:


  • Institutions - producers, production companies, distribution & marketing, funding, budget, box office takings, dvd sales.




  • Critical acclaim - awards, reviews (read at least two separate reviews from a range of sources e.g. established newspapers or magazines)




  • Forms and conventions - genre, style, tone. (look at the poster and tagline as well as close textual detail)




  • Representations - Britain (1980's and today), youth, gender, family, ethnicity.




  • Director - Who is Shane Meadows? Upbringing and education, influences, previous and current work, subject matter & style.


Below is video of Mark Kermode interviewing Shane Meadows on The Culture Show. Mainly about his new film 'This is England' but some good stuff about his filmmaking style.


9 comments:

alexa said...

Well Mr M, I really can't put a specific reason on why I didn't like this film, I've seen films with gore and drugs before and liked them. I think the reason why I didn't particularly like Dead Man's Shoes, is I found it a bit far fetched I think, and at times I found the film a bit uncomfortable. Even though I didn't like the story very much I liked some of Meadows style on the film, I liked the grainy film used in the flashbacks, I thought the flashbacks were really effective, and the use of sound in them (sometimes hearing dialogue, then not) was a really interesting.

I did watch the Southbank Show last night, and it was nice to see how down to earth and normal Shane Meadows is, and he's not interested in the high life, all he wants to do is make good honest films. It was interesting to see how aspects of his ownlife make it into a lot of his films.

*pitiful name drop here* I met Melvin Bragg when I was 10 (although I did not know who he was then)
Alex F

Mr. M said...

Fair enough Alex. I also found the film very uncomfortable at times - Meadows is a master at that; especially with characters who on the one hand are charasmatic and likeable but also have a sinister and menacing edge. Far fetched for the brutality of the revenge maybe but not sure for the expolitation/ torture of Anthony. Plenty of that sort of stuff goes on...maybe not so much in our leafy environs though. What you say about Meadows' films reflecting his life is interesting here as a lot of the content in DMS is exactly that...and not so far fetched as we might think.

I agree, Meadows' down to earth nature is one of the things that makes him so engaging. Wonderful to see a filmmaker so enthusiastic about his craft without the Hollywood wankery (oops, elitism then) that so often goes with it...

Definite parallels with Scorcese can be made (Meadows is a big fan). Use of handheld, excellent with actors, careful scripting, 'real-life' stories, gritty realism. Esp in S's early work. DMS is his 'Taxi Driver' - there is certainly some Travis Bickle in Richard....

Good old Melvin...no need to apologise for the name drop....

Paul Cook said...

Hmm...Careful scripting...I think Mr Meadows would disagree as he said he writes a quick first draft of most of his scripts and then works on the dialogue on-set...But anyway, Shane Meadows, DMS - Brilliant film for such a low budget, did you say it was shot on DV - as in Mini DV - surely not!? Great use of camera, really inspiring to see a film as good as this made with little more than the tools we have at our finger tips!

Personally I love the film thematically and although the subject matter is a little uncomfortable at times I think everyone get's there just desserts! Justice is done in a very twisted way in DMS.

Mr. M said...

Careful scripting as in being careful to make it sound natural. So, like you say, having a framework but then working on set and allowing actors to ad lib to get that sense of naturalism that so defines his work in this area. Not careful as in meticulous...

I was always led to believe it was shot on DVCPRO however it seems I was wrong. Britfilms has the format as 35mm. Bad luck. Not quite at your fingertips but the technology is changing so fast and coming down in price that you have more chance of getting good quality images than ever before.

Check out 'Red Road' (Andrea Arnold) which was shot on a HiDef digital format, for example. Looks great. Fantastic British film too - highly recommended. Excellent debut film from a promosing young auteur. Surveillance society sub-theme is interesting.

Or try the low budget thriller London To Brighton. (out on DVD this week) Written in four days and shot in three weeks, on a budget of just £80000.

jc said...

Hello, long time no blog...

First of all i want to say how much i liked Dead Man's Shoes (a lot). the realist aesthetic of the film, the aforementioned "grainy film" and naturalistic dialogue, made the film a success.

i would argue that this presentaion of verisimilitude in the arguably far fetched narrative is the reason for the unconfortsble feelings, and the fact that such emotions were felt by the audience clarifies that it was presented beautifully; not out of the realms of possiblity.

the second issue i want to raise is that of the debate of the 'british style' of cinema talked of in lessons. why must there be a defined style that is clearly different to that of other nation's (specifically US productions)? it is not to say that British directors should seek to emulate Hollywood creations, or any other style; although, why must there be a conscious effort to operate differently as long as there is sufficent miscellany in the industry?

Mr. M said...

Welcome to the blogosphere jc - some interesting points and I'm glad you enjoyed DMS. Although I'm not sure where you stand on the second issue you raise. Your verbiage is a little confusiage.
Care to clarify?

There is certainly a great range of what one could term 'british' films out there.

Are you saying we should not shy away from making blockbusters, or genre films for example?

There has been some good debate on this in previous posts - the holidays one in particular. Danny Boyle's Sunshine was a good example...

Paul Cook said...

Also, Although not British, Wolf Creek is a beautiful film that was shot on HDV - (i think) - and made for just $1,100,000 Australian dollars (about £350,000.) Worth a watch for the pure quality for low-budget film, if not a fan of gruesome horror...

Burby said...

got this over the half term, paddy considine is an amazing actor and reading about it this story is in some ways autobiographical!? anyway there was a grim fascination with the character throughout and this kept me watching throughout the violence...

although perhaps farfetched i certainly was made to feel uneasy in the way a more realistic narrative would, little touches like the old gas mask help to keep it somewhat down to earth.

tis a very good film, although for technique and style i did prefer this is england : )

Mr. M said...

Good comment Burby - I agree on the grim fascination thing. Paddy Considine plays it perfectly; hints of underlying malice at every turn. One of the best staredowns in cinema history too...
The extras on the DMS DVD contain a good interview with Meadows and he refers to the autobiographical stuff in there - worth a look...
It is a work of fiction though and as such there are elements that are, as you say, far fetched(stuffing bodies in suitcases). It is a revenge thriller after all. What I think people often find disturbing about the film is that it is mixed with a genuine realistic edge. The mise-en-scene, the locations, some of the characters. Some clear Meadows trademarks too - like the light humour alongside such heavy imagery.
Much bigger budget for This Is England and this is reflected in the production values - did you know DMS was cut on Final Cut? Low budget filmmaking at its very best.