“If Shane Meadows looked more like an intellectual and didn’t come from Uttoxeter, we might be comparing him to Carl Dreyer and Ingmar Bergman.” – Robert Murphy
Meadows’ works, alongside those of contemporaries such as Paweł Pawlikowski, Lynne Ramsay and Andrea Arnold, are a departure from the tradition of British social realism embodied by Mike Leigh, Alan Clark and Ken Loach. Moving towards a more poetic form of realism that rejects didacticism and explicit explorations of social issues, in favor of a more ambiguous image-led narration. In the case of Meadows, this expresses itself in a symbiotic mise-en-scène wherein traditional British social realism becomes a substratum – a space of (un)familiarity in which specifically realist topic matter, such as working-class deprivation, is also imbued with an opaque unrealism. Capturing the poetics of everyday life on the socio-economic margins in what Martin Fradley describes as that ‘deeply and perennially unfashionable’ region of England: the Midlands.
For his contemporary Andrea Arnold, realism is defined in the transcendental of the familiar, a visual sensory of physical and perceptual experience. The landscape and objects of the everyday – blades of grass, flowers, pylons – are given a renewed meaning. She elevates the material elements of quotation experience enacting a process of poetic (re)animation.
Come & enjoy two cult classics from these two contemporary visionaries, whose work has changed the landscape of British cinema. Teaming up with Mobile Kino our editors present these rare cuts which it will be a pleasure to see on the big screen:
Dead Man’s Shoes (2004)
Part horror, part psychological thriller, part family drama Dead Man’s Shoes sees the sensibilities of the classic Western reformed to the gothic locale of the Midlands. A film that at its heart is a redemptive ghost story, about our inability to escape the past or repeat its mistakes – a profound document concerned with loss, it changed the face of the horror genre.
A mother’s love for her children is complex and deep; in Andrea Arnold’s Oscar winning short, Wasp, the fragile dichotomy of a young woman’s desire for sexual intimacy and freedom against the pressure of being a single mother with four young children with no food on the table. Featuring a baby-faced Danny Dyer, Wasp is a subtle yet incendiary indictment of Blair’s Britain. The breakdown of the welfare state; the resistance of working class women in which fleeting moments of escapism are hard to earn and intensely felt.
Now then, Now then
Both Arnold and Meadows would go from strength to strength making stand alone masterpieces of British Cinema. Arnold followed up with Red Road and Fish Tank, not to mention achieved US acclaim with American Honey and a recent empathetic foray into documentary with this year MUBI produced Cow. For Meadows Dead Man’s Shoes, confirmed what many had already seen in stunning A Room for Romeo Brass and his still misunderstood twentyfourseven, yet it was for many his definitive follow up film This is England that would finally see a breakthrough. Following up with the heartfelt Sommer’s Town, Meadows went on to be one of the key figures in changing the television mini-series medium raising to the heights of long-form film(s) with the trilogy This is England ‘86 – ‘90 and more recently The Virtues. In the process launching and fostering the careers of Vicky McClure and Stephen Graham. Yet, as Wasp and Dead Man’s Shoes both approach twenty; they are cult documents of a golden decade of modern British cinema which need to be seen again on big screen
With several publications on Meadow’s and New British Realism, our main film editor Jack is joined co-editor Florence & by world’s leading the expert on Shane Meadows, Lynch & all things kino Dr. Martin Fradley, a singular force and the kingpin of outsider academic par excellence. Come by and say hello.