Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Maybe Add This to Your Queue

Is there a better way to spend President Day then watching an Anthony Bourdain marathon and films about England? I think not. Yesterday, I watched This is England, an autobiographical film by Shane Meadows, who spent his young life among skinheads in central England. After his father dies in the Falklands War, Shane and his mother move to Nottinghamshire, where he is bullied for his clothes (and basically being the new kid). He meets some older skinheads on his way home from school and develops a close friendship with them, eventually adopting the skinhead look and attitude.

This is England won the Best British Film BAFTA this year and, while it's engaging (and the young kid who plays Shane is really good), I wouldn't call it a great film. However, I found the politics really interesting. First, I didn't realize there were non-racist skinheads, but apparently, the term originally referred mainly to a style of dress and interest in Jamaican music. Second, the parallels between skinheads of the 1980's and our current wave of patriotic nationalism are eerie. Meadows shows the rise of English nationalism among the skinheads (a desire to "reclaim" England for the English and a hatred for Middle Easterners) and the rhetoric sounds alarmingly similar to ideas espoused in America today. What we call "patriotic," Meadows portrays as nationalistic. Who's to say who's correct?

I'd recommend This is England if you are feeling fired up and political (or if you really liked Romper Stomper). Otherwise, watch American Idol or something...


Falwless said...

I've been wanting to see this film. And I totally will, as long as it doesn't interfere with American Idol.


Sweet god in heaven I needs a life.

Red said...

I know! I am super excited, too. I thank God I don't have a life!

Liz said...

This is already in my queue. I pre-empted you!