Tuesday, September 11, 2007

This is England

It's funny, it's powerful, it's personal and it's deeply moving.

This is England is probably the film in which I heard the most "F words".

A semi-biographical film based on the 80s, of a marginalized boy's encounter, which leads to quite an experience, with the skinheads.

Director Shane Meadows, in an interview, said: "It’s probably the closest thing I’ll ever make to a political film." Then he went on to say: "As an adult, I look back at who led the country up to that point. But when you started going through this footage from the 1980s, Thatcher was the first to be media savvy. Turning up on working class estates, going into a classroom of kids and playing on a computer…I don’t seem to remember anyone before doing that. She did embrace that. This thing of the Falklands, and when you look at the footage, and see the campaign as the unemployment figures hit 3½ million, it does make you incredibly suspicious as to what paratroopers were doing fighting 16 year-old kids from Argentina. It was an incredibly suspicious war, in the same way America and the UK got involved in Iraq. People can see that now. Obviously there were more people against going into Iraq than there were going into the Falklands…but the shame I carry as a British resident, was that it was a war handled in the media as if it were a World Cup summer. Like when England go into the World Cup, there are Union Jacks on the papers, and you can look at headlines from the time and it sounded just like that. Ultimately, I was privy to footage from ITN archives – that wasn’t shown on television – of the people we were fighting, and it was shameful. It was bullying. It was really horrible. How could we have been proud of winning that? It was the equivalent of putting Mike Tyson in the ring with a 7 year-old kid from an infant school. So that was always running in the back of this film – the root level of that horrible racism, that bullying and violence that exists in someone can also be inherent in a nation without us knowing it."

Don't let these "political message" talk bore you, in fact, the film is anything but boring: the cast is brilliant, especially the lead boy, Thomas Turgoose, only 15, played his role just as playing his own life. The music is genius! It has got hits from Dexy's Midnight Runners, The Specials and Soft Cell as well as Ska classics from Toots & The Maytals and The Upsetters. But what really lifted the whole film is music composed by Ludovico Einaudi, an Italian contemporary classical composer. Especially in a scene where there was a pretty intense conflict with gangs fighting, bleeding, people screaming scared, and here comes Ludovico Einaudi, brimming over the agony and in that moment, a moving, atmospheric, and beautiful silence fell upon the audience, enabling them to step out of the chaos, to see the film as it truly is, nostalgia of the wild angry years.

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