by Chris Grygiel
This article looks
in detail at the relationship between Shane Meadows
'A Room for Romeo Brass'(1999) and
'Dead Mans Shoes' (2004) and 'Saturday Night And Sunday Morning
('1960, Reisz) and
'A Taste Of Honey'(1961, Richardson), two films of the British New
Wave. Specifically, I investigate the connections between these eras
of British cinema.
In his films Meadows
uses similar techniques, structures and methods as the New Wave directors.
Prolonged montage sequences, the escape to the countryside and protracted
establishing shots are common to both bodies of work, yet Meadows uses
these established practices to reach different goals. Is the director
paying homage to these earlier works, or is this a subversion of those
norms, intended to make us question their purpose? It is important to
see how and why Meadows uses similar shots for altogether different
purposes, and how these affect his films. I analyse and interpret the
relationship between these two eras of British cinema, placing Meadows
in a British social realist tradition and draw conclusions in relation
to the role in which these earlier films influence both Meadows, and
our own reading of these similarities between the two.
With the release
of Meadows film Oi! This is England this year, about skinhead
culture in early 1980's Britain, it is important at this stage to evaluate
the course of his career, taking into account his transition from the
margins to popular cinema and his audience. Throughout the article I
consider the differences between Britain both culturally and socially
in these different eras, and the differing attitudes to the works then
and now in what is essentially an entertainment industry.