76 – Distribution Case Study: A Field in England

A film called A field in England attempted to break this model. A field in England is a art house film directed by british director Ben Wheatley.

This film got funding from the likes of the BFI and Film 4 but it’s budget was nowhere near the millions of the bigger studios so it could never achieve the cinema releases and marketing of the tent pole films. So instead of a nationwide cinema release A Field in England was instead released simultaneously across every platform (TV, Picturehouse Cinema’s, Itunes, VOD and DVD and Blu ray). This is practically unheard of for a studio to do but proved successful for A field in England and allowed them to reach a wider audience than they would have been able to. However this method I believe, even though it may have made A field in England more money, if this method was applied to the next Star Wars movie it would actually made the studio less money. As I believe the cinema experience is becoming less and less valued by the general public and people (assuming they wanted the film legally) would prefer to buy the dvd or rent the film on a video on demand service.

A Field in England’s budget £316,879 with a 112,000 of that money devoted to marketing the movie. The film then went on to make £21,399 in theatrical revenue from 17 venues. Total DVD and Blu-Ray sales on Friday and Saturday was 1,462 units. The figure for ITunes and VOD services was over 1000. This means it is unlikely that they made back the initial investment or at least it will take a long time to pay it off. Especially as the marketing was geared up for the opening weekend so the peak of the sales would be expected to occur then. As they appear to have not broke even during that weekend it is unlikely that they will in the future as the sales will dramatically lower as time goes on. However some of the initial investment came from charitable sources such as the BFI (British Film Institution) who contributed £56,701. The BFI and other charitable organisations will not expect their money back. The majority of the rest of the money was financed by Film 4 who would be very interested in making their money back. As it seems very likely that did not and will not make their investment back I find it incredibly unlikely that Film 4 would attempt this strategy again as they will not make profit. Or if they were to attempt the same strategy it may work for a slightly less niche film. Perhaps a lower budgeted film that aims more towards a younger audience who will use internet services more than the demographic of 25-34 year olds that A Field in England appealed to.

The total sales as of 12th October are £51,409 in box office revenues, 7,577 DVD/Blu-Ray sales, 714 Film 4OD rentals, 3,133 iTunes rentals, 1,746 Virgin media rentals and 680 iTunes purchases. These figures suggest to me that the film has still made a loss overall. However it can be seen that a lot of the revenue was still made in the opening weekend.

Part of the marketing campaign involved building an online digital masterclass which gave visitors to the page an insight into the making of the film. This site attracted 80,000 page views and 54,000 visits by the middle of October. \

The director Ben Wheatley and members of the cast were tweeting about the film to their many followers. In the cinema exit polls it was revealed the online campaign made up for 45% of the awareness for the film. 54% of under-35s said online advertising and social media was it’s primary source of awareness, compared with 35% in the older age range.

The critical reaction to the film was strong and was given an 88% score of Rotten Tomatoes. In the cinema exit poll the film was rated 29% and 41% very good giving it a total score of 70%, 10% above the UK norm. However as the cinema release was fairly small so a lot of the people going would have already been fans of Ben Wheatley’s work. Also if the majority of awareness came from Twitter it could be implied that the cinemagoers must have followed Ben Wheatley on Twitter which makes it incredibly likely they were fans of his work.

To increase the value of cinema’s many additional services have been provided by cinema’s namely IMAX and 3D screenings. Both would be costly and almost impossible to replicate on a home cinema system and definitely impossible on the current generation of Ipods, pads and phones. This may then encourage more people to go the cinema for films instead. Also there is a growing number of pop up cinema’s which are basically simple projectors placed in unlikely settings across the country in order to seem quirky and out there. People then decorate the areas with relevant decorations and encourage costumes and the like. Also wacky and interesting food may be required. All of these efforts are to make the cinema more fun and appealing for a cinema goer. Personally I’d much rather just sit in a standard movie theatre but people like me are going to become a niche as we go into the future that is ruled by flimsy little tablet computers. For bonus blog satisfaction points from the last sentence guess how I feel about tablet computers. If you guessed that I hate them then you just won 10 blog satisfaction points. Good for you.

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74 – Kevin Smith creates Batman a State and almost kills Superman

Kevin Smith started his career by directing his own film called Clerks which he produced for just under 30,000 dollars but made over 3,000,000 which kickstarted the future of his career. Clerks was a project he had written himself and the pre production and filming of the film was incredibly independent. Smith then got a deal with Miramax Films who distributed the film and grossed the 3 million pounds.

Personally I have known Kevin Smith as a podcaster and I’ve particuarly enjoyed his Fatman on Batman series. It was during the internet frenzy following Ben Affleck’s casting as Batman last August. Ben Affleck starred in three Kevin Smith films, Mallrats, Chasing Amy and Dogma. There begun a mutual friendship between the two so when Affleck was cast as Batman, Smith, long term comic book fan, was ecstatic. It was Kevin Smith’s films that actually then started Ben Affleck’s career which is going from strength to strength right now culminating in his oscar win of best picture for Argo.

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Also around the 1990’s after making a couple more movies he came under the attention of Warner Bro’s who arranged a meeting with him to discuss hiring Smith for screenwriting. They explained they had 3 different projects available, one of which being a Superman reboot. Smith read the current script they had for this film and told them it was flat out awful. He was then hired to re write the script but was under many constraints by the producers of the film who were pushing, for whatever reason, for a giant spider to appear in the third act of the film. Also the main aim of the film was to spur on sales of merchandise. There were some creative differences between Smith, one of the largest of which was that the producers didn’t want Superman to FLY or be in the SUIT, which are two basic principles that for a one dimensional character like Superman are his only features. Eventually Tim Burton was brought onto the project followed by many more re drafts until the project just collapsed in on itself and was obviously never made and a few years later Superman Returns was made which I think we can all agree to forget about. This was probably a disappointing project for Smith as he was always a comic book fan and was initially very excited to get the opportunity to work with the character.

But fast forward to 2011 and Kevin Smith has a wealth of Smodcast podcasts under his belt. He then wrote and directed Red State with a budget of 4,000,000 dollars. After production of the film had finished Smith announced he would hold an auction at the Sundance film festival where he would choose his distributor for the film. The following is the speech he made.

Clearly Smith declares a lack of faith in the big distributors and wants to see if he can self distribute his film in a more personal way which is an interesting idea. I’m not saying this lack of faith is directly because of the failed Superman film, but I imagine it was an incident that started to push him away from major distributors and studios. Instead of releasing the film in theatres simultaneously across the globe Smith intended to go on a tour with the film where he would be at every screening for a q&a session. As risky as this approach is in terms of making his 4,000,000 dollars back I think this approach is very intriguing and a fresh new way of releasing a film. Personally from money terms it may be best to do a tour as an early release then a few months later do a full release across the globe, that’s what I would have done. However as Smith did not seem to want to partner with a distributor this would have been costly as they would need to pay 50 million dollars plus in marketing and more just to get it into theatres. Then the money made in cinema’s is decreased by like a quarter or more, this money then goes back to the theatres. So without a distributor a suppose a tour is a reasonable replacement.

However towards the end of 2011 Lionsgate released the film on video on demand services. So in a sense the movie has still had a mass release just not in theatres which I think is a shame. I think independent releases are destined to be streamed on the internet wherever it be on Youtube or Netflix, that is the the future for independent releases as it’s the perfect platform. There is next to no cost to upload it to the internet whereas there would be if you were going to tour theatres. The marketing costs would still be there but that would then be the main cost you’re looking at. However say something like Gangnam style, that went viral across the world and has over a billion views and I imagine there is very little if any marketing costs for that. If marketing became more creative then independent films could find a huge audience just through the internet. Which actually Kevin Smith hoped for from his podcast fans.

As we see established channels from BBC moving online and Netflix beginning to premier their own TV series and films I believe that’s the way forward for more independent films. The concept of self releasing films and going on a tour with it is a quirky thing to do but ultimately is not an effective way of releasing a movie.

73 – How to Break Hollywood

The film industry’s main aim is not to make thoughtful and creative films, it’s upmost priority is to make money. The top 6 distributors of films in the world are Sony Pictures, 20th century Fox, Warner Bro’s, Universal, Disney and Paramount. All of the films distributed by these companies are distributed in such a way as to make the most money out of people possible. Sometimes this revenue will be made by individual tent pole franchises for which each of these companies tend to posses the exclusive film rights for. One of the biggest trends in modern cinema is superhero movies and each superhero makes it’s studio huge amounts of money, Sony owns Spiderman for which it is already rebooting and has plans for another 5 films to expand the series coming within the next few years, Fox has the X-Men and Fantastic Four for which 1 film is currently in post production with a sequel already announced before it’s even released which shows they have complete confidence that the first film will make a significant amount of money which will help fund the pending sequel. Warner Bro’s distributed the Christopher Nolan Batman series which brought in big revenue and allowed Nolan to have free reign to create Inception and the upcoming Interstellar, but also Man of Steel which made around 700,000 dollars worldwide which has given them enough money to be able to announce a Batman VS Superman film coming in 2016 which will require a huge budget which they would only spend if they knew they could earn it back huge profit on top.

But it is Disney is quickly acquiring the biggest franchises, essentially through absorbing other companies, in 2012 they partnered with Marvel Studios and distributed The Avengers which went on to make over 1 billion dollars worldwide and Kevin Feige, the godfather of the marvel cinematic universe, continues to produce almost 2 marvel films each year. Now they are even taking risks with more unknown properties such as The Guardians of the Galaxy which could lose money and will only make money with a lot of marketing which will cost a lot of money. However because of the huge amount of money Marvel studios and Disney have made over the last couple of years from The Avengers and the Iron Man series they can now afford to take these risks.

The conventional approach for Hollywood studios when releasing a new film is to first announce it. Sometimes this is done in a simple press release or at a big event such as ComicCon. At Sandiego ComicCon many of the studios often host panels with their directors, producers or cast and speak about their upcoming films. As ComicCon is a huge event for comic book enthusiasts it enables the studios to get the fans on their side before the film is even released. For instance at ComicCon in 2013 Warner Bro’s with Zach Snyder announced the Batman Vs Superman movie and the crowd went mad. This then creates huge buzz for the film, and then all the news sites and channels pick up on it and spread the word more. Already Batman vs Superman is becoming hugely  anticipated despite being 2 years away from release. The comic book fans are the people who are going to be the most enthusiastic about a comic book movie so addressing the audience is such a huge and engaging way such as ComicCon gives the film a head start.

The studio will then choose a release date and announce this. The release date is chosen very particularly as to not coincide with any similar film by another big studio as by releasing two horror movies on the same day for instance would harm the profits made by both studios as the the target audience would be the same demographic and may choose between one film or the other. Therefore the ticket sales would be harmed for both films, so instead negotiations may be made to have the films far enough apart. In fact to go back to Batman Vs Superman, the film was originally supposed to be released on a particular weekend summer 2015, however the film then got pushed back to 2016, a few days after this announcement Marvel moved the release date of upcoming film, Edgar Wright film so of course I’ve practically booked a ticket already, Antman straight into this release date.

Sometimes a film may be shown months in advance to critics, such was the case with Avengers, this tends to happen if a studio is extremely confident with the film. Being shown early mean the critics spread the word that this film is amazing long in advance. Also months before the release there tends to be teaser trailers and then full trailers. The biggest trailers tend to be reserved for the U.S Super Bowl where they are guaranteed a mass viewing. These trailers build up the hype for the film even more.

There is then further promotion leading up to the release date where the cast will do junkets and appear on chat shows across the globe. Accompanying this will be posters on billboards, buses and buildings. There may be adverts on web pages like Youtube on the front page. Also TV advertisements will appear closer to the film date. Marketing can cost a studio up to 50 million pounds because of the sheer scale of advertising they cover.

The film is then released internationally in cinema’s and most of the revenue will be made on the opening weekend at the box office. The film may then stay in cinema’s for up to a month. About a third of the money made in the box office will be given to the cinema chain then the remainder once the films budget and the marketing costs have been removed reveals wherever or not the film breaks even. Sometimes if a film has Oscar winning potential the studio will release the film nearer the award season so that the oscar buzz encourages more ticket sales. Captain Phillips was even re-released in U.S cinema’s for one week following the Oscars as an attempt to probably refresh everyone’s minds and capitalise on their oscar nominations in an attempt to squeeze more money out of the public.

3 months later the film gets released on Blu-Ray, DVD and streaming services. The blu ray copy usually contains a great deal of special features, more so than the dvd, and it’s quality enables it to seem more appealing for consumers. About a year or two after this the film may be on television for free. The staggered releasing of the film is a way to milk more money out of it. If there is a film you want to see really badly you’ll pay to watch it in the cinema so you don’t have to wait (and maybe you like the experience), then the movie is taken out of cinema’s but you want to watch it again so you then buy the blu ray for another 10 or 15 pound. So altogether you’ve probably paid 25 pound. Whereas had the blu ray been released at the same time as the cinema you may just have bought that.

The problem with this is piracy though. As piracy increases cinemas and studios will make less and less money as people are just illegally watching them for free. Now people may say if the cinema price was lower we wouldn’t pirate. But the ticket price has to be high because take a film like Pacific Rim, the budget is over 300,000 dollars, it needs to make the money back somehow so you then pay for tickets to help them pay the cost of the budget and the marketing. Pacific Rim actually did struggle to break even so a sequel looks unlikely as they may expect a sequel to potentially make less money and then they would make no profit. So if you are a fan of Pacific Rim and want a sequel you must pay money for the film because it’s the money that allows them to make more films you’ll enjoy.

A film called A field in England attempted to break this model. A field in England is a art house film directed by british director Ben Wheatley.

This film got funding from the likes of the BFI and Film 4 but it’s budget was nowhere near the millions of the bigger studios so it could never achieve the cinema releases and marketing of the tent pole films. So instead of a nationwide cinema release A Field in England was instead released simultaneously across every platform (TV, Picturehouse Cinema’s, Itunes, VOD and DVD and Blu ray). This is practically unheard of for a studio to do but proved successful for A field in England and allowed them to reach a wider audience than they would have been able to. However this method I believe, even though it may have made A field in England more money, if this method was applied to the next Star Wars movie it would actually made the studio less money. As I believe the cinema experience is becoming less and less valued by the general public and people (assuming they wanted the film legally) would prefer to buy the dvd or rent the film on a video on demand service.

To increase the value of cinema’s many additional services have been provided by cinema’s namely IMAX and 3D screenings. Both would be costly and almost impossible to replicate on a home cinema system and definitely impossible on the current generation of Ipods, pads and phones. This may then encourage more people to go the cinema for films instead. Also there is a growing number of pop up cinema’s which are basically simple projectors placed in unlikely settings across the country in order to seem quirky and out there. People then decorate the areas with relevant decorations and encourage costumes and the like. Also wacky and interesting food may be required. All of these efforts are to make the cinema more fun and appealing for a cinema goer. Personally I’d much rather just sit in a standard movie theatre but people like me are going to become a niche as we go into the future that is ruled by flimsy little tablet computers. For bonus blog satisfaction points from the last sentence guess how I feel about tablet computers. If you guessed that I hate them then you just won 10 blog satisfaction points. Good for you.

As a public service announcement I beg of you, the public of the world, go to the cinema so they can always afford to run them. #SaveBBCThree

 

26 – Doctor Who Textual Analysis

Discuss the ways in which the extract constructs the representation of gender using the following: camera shots, angles, composition, editing, sound, mise en scene.

In the extract there are four key characters to discuss in relation to gender. The first of which is the master.

The master’s costume is a suit but his shirt is untucked and his top button is un done. This represents how he is in control in this scene and has no one to answer to. He is comfortable in this environment and certainly holds all the cards at the start of the scene.

Furthermore at the beginning of the scene the master is seen in fairly wide shots that look up at the master which portrays his power and dominance in the situation. He is also on a raised platform at the start meaning he is literally above most of the characters and therefore looks down on them all. Overall the way the character is portrayed seems symbolic of a patriarchal dictator.

Editing wise the master also has the majority of screen time while he is still in power. However as Martha, the female prisoner starts to overcome him she begins to get more screen time than him. The screen time then basically stays on the character who is most in control which is first held with a man (which may seem stereotypical as it reflects patriarchal rule) but changes to a woman halfway through the clip till the doctor returns and then the screen time is dominated by him instead.

Other noticeable changes as Martha takes control include the music. Uptill the mid point of the clip the music has been fairly subdued but building up tension, but one the power shifts it becomes more intense and louder to reflect the story coming to a climax on the screen.

In addition the master starts to leave the raised platform as he loses control and walks down some stairs, albeit one point where in his desperation he returns to the platform in an attempt to regain his power. Also the mid shots and wide shots become more spaced out and instead are replaced by close up shots. These close up shots are mostly reaction shots that can show the expressions more easily and show the master starting to doubt himself and panic as the events unfold.

Martha starts the scene by being pushed by male soldiers who are much taller than her. In this way she looks physically weaker than the men behind her which conforms to gender stereotypes that men are soldiers and stronger than women.

However what does not conform to gender stereotypes is the costume design for Martha which is black and in a military style which altogether seems very masculine and helps to establish that she might be tough and capable.

At the beginning some of the camera shots are POV from the master so the shots look down on Martha which belittles her and makes her appear to have no control in the situation. In this way he demonstrates the way that the master thinks he is stronger than her and see’s her as far less than an equal.

Despite how Martha is undermined she seems to show no fear in the situation and yet again this does not conform to the gender stereotypes of women in films and tv. The way she is not fearful is almost foreshadowing of the fact that she has had a plan to overthrow the master and helps the audience to expect her to defeat the master.

It may be significant that Martha actually does not create the plan herself, instead she is simply following the instructions of the doctor. Her plan is therefore a male invention that a male has instructed her to do. It requires little intelligence on her behalf and the doctor could basically have got any other person to perform the plan instead.

As soon as the Doctor has returned from being a small aged and genderless creature Martha loses the majority of her screen time and the Doctor is shown a lot so that the audience know that he is the main hero at this point and the true hero is not Martha. At this stage the two main characters who are being shown are both men and the other characters only appear in reaction shots to what is happening in front of them.

The Doctor when he is restored floats into the air in  pose that resembles the pose that Jesus is often shown in. Once this is noticed there are many other references to religion within the scene. The events seem to reflect the armageddon and the rapture and also the master seems to represent the devil, the Doctor then represents Jesus or God and Martha and Jack are his faithful disciples. There is also a reference to prayer being Martha’s weapon and also all the events happen above the clouds so in a sense they’re in the ‘heavens’. A lot of christianity seems to centre around males rather than women so the references can definitely seem significant in relation to gender.

Also significant is Lucy Saxon, the woman in the red dress. The red dress suggests that the woman in trying to impress people and look seductive. However from the facial expressions of worry and unease she shows throughout the scene towards the master it seems more likely that the master has made the decision to dress her in this way to make her into a trophy wife of some form. She is objectified and shown to be completely obedient  to the master as all her attention is on him as she rarely speaks as well.

22 – This Is England ’86 (Shane Meadows, 2010) “We’re going to do a montage”

This is a textual analysis post looking at This Is England ’86, the tv series directed by Shane Meadows, in particular we are looking at a 3/4 minute montage in episode 4 that starts at 14:18 and ends at 18:00. In this montage there are a few different plots that are being shown, there is the realisation that Trev has been raped and how she is confronting Lol about the events, Milky and Woody arranging another wedding and Shaun and Combo preparing to visit Combo’s mother.

Camera work:

There are numerous close up shots that act as reaction shots at the start of the montage. This portrays the characters emotions very effectively as all the movements on their face are very easy to see and therefore you can see the pain they are in. These close ups tend to feature more between Lol and Trev where the tone is much more tense, whereas there are more wide shots and mid shots with Milky and Woody where the tone is more comical and light hearted.

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The wide shots of Woody and Milky on the scooters helps to establish the setting of the series as the areas they drive through are run down residential areas. This then helps the audience to understand where the characters live and what kind of class the characters might belong to. Knowing this helps the audience to understand the mind set of the characters in a more in depth way.

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In the shots of Shaun nearer the beginning of the montage he is shown on his own in a mid shot. Visually this makes him look isolated and alone which ties into the ongoing theme of Shaun being quite a lonely character throughout the start of the series at least and emphasises his emotions as he is the focus of the shots.

Sound design:

There is very prominent non diegetic music (not to dissimilar than the above clip) that really establishes the tone of the scene. It is part of a composed score for the series and is played on piano. It stimulates a depressing and sad impression onto the audience. There is dialogue in the scene as well but when it is between Lol and Trev it is muted so the audience has to guess what is being said. As she is explaining she has been raped it makes the scene more dramatic as the exact words she is saying isn’t known but the audience obviously know what has been said. Also the effect of this scene is perhaps reminiscent of the silence that may come in the immediate aftermath of an explosion in other films. This would make sense as the revelation is quite dramatic and in that way is metaphorically like an explosion.

There is a lack of diagetic sound, which is possibly to focus the attention onto the score which is the main driver for the tone of the scene and the dialogue within the scene as well.

Mise-en-scene:

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The colour palette of the montage seems fairly saturated. This reflects the poverty of the area and the difficulties the characters have with progressing through life which therefore gives the film a bleak outlook, also it may represent the dark nature of the themes and the plot throughout the series.

When Mike is in Kel’s room there are posters on the wall which establishes her youth and therefore her vulnerability to the audience as Mike is known to be a dangerous. Kel also has white bedsheets and the colour white can often connote innocence which further further shows the danger that she could potentially be in and how she might not be able to defend herself.

Editing:

There is no particular character who is given the most screen time in this montage, this helps to show there is no one main character within the series and its focus is therefore balanced between its ensemble cast. Also this helps keep the tone with equal amounts of humour and darker tones.

The cross cutting between all the more humorous sections and the darker parts is important as Woody and Milky are trying to arrange another wedding for Woody and Lol and they both appear very optimistic about achieving that, however whenever the montage cuts back to Lol and Trev the audience is reminded of the impending failure that the wedding will likely be as Lol will be in no state to go get married. This forms part of the tragedy that underlies the whole montage.

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21 – This Is England ’86 – And how does that make you feel?

The media blog has now passed its 21st blog which means if the blog was american it could now drink. In a sense the blog has come of age which is appropriate for the themes throughout This is England 86′ when it comes to Shaun. So to celebrate the blog turning 21 in this post I will be looking at what the creators of This is England 86′ have tried to make the audience feel.

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Shaun was the main character in the film and we were shown his journey into adolescence. However in this series Shaun takes more of a supporting role. The coming of age story carries on with Shaun though and we see him continue his romance with fellow character Smell. As this series is set in the 80’s many of the audience may remember the 80’s quite well and possibly grew up in that decade. I think this makes Shaun easy to relate to as he might be a similar age to what the audience might have been and this makes the audience possibly more empathetic to him. Even if the audience were not alive during when the character would have been in the series (like myself) the events that happen to Shaun can hit very close to home, especially at the beginning of the series where he gets pressured by bullies and is feeling lonely and isolated from all his friends. These are problems a lot of people face at some point so the audience can definitely relate to this.

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As said in this series Shaun has become more of a side character and instead former loyal skinhead Lol has assumed the main character role. In this series she struggles with some very big emotional problems when her father comes back to the city. From the start she alleges her father of coming into her room at night with implied possible sexual intentions. She then starts to become more distant from her partner Woody after he ruins her wedding and leaves her at the alter, this leads her to fall into the arms of Milky. This relationship then ends badly as Milky feels guilty about betraying his friend. Lol then confronts her father who has by this point raped her friend, and eventually kills him. Despite Lol doing questionably bad actions like cheating and attempting to murder her own family as the audience you are definitely on her side throughout series. This is done through portraying her father as completely evil and the audience really hate him as he is so disrespectful, aggressive and abusive towards all of the characters. Also her cheating is almost justified as Woody is generally shown as being a bit of and idiot and he doesn’t appear to make much of an effort with the wedding. This makes the audience feel really sympathetic towards Lol. Yet again it is credit to the writing and the acting that a character can be shown brutally murdering someone and the audience is almost cheering the character on.

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I’m not sure this is relevant but the final episode where Lol kills her father reminds me a lot of the story of little red riding hood. Some original versions of the little red riding hood folk tale involved the girl being eaten by the wolf at the end. The story was then thought to have hidden meanings, some people believe the wolf represented male sexual aggression and red riding hood being eaten was actually her being raped. If these metaphorical theories are to be believed the final episode fits very neatly into the tale. The father is the wolf who has tried to hide himself as something more innocent (throughout the series he continues to deny he is a rapist) and is then confronted by little red riding hood, who would be Lol, he then tries to ‘eat’ the girl which in this case is literal attempted rape. In the brothers Grimm’s version of the tale a woodcutter then arrives just in time to save the girl. In the case of This is England this would be Combo who comes in at the end and saves Lol in the sense that he does time in prison instead of her to protect her.

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Though a lot of the context and environment that the characters are defined by may not be relatable the audience still feel involved with the series and get behind the plot and characters. I think this is because the characters are really interesting and can go from humour to tension very easily through fantastic acting. The performances feel very genuine which help to not remind the audience that the series isn’t real and as said creates this strong empathy.

6 – This is Textual, this is Analysis but most importantly This is England

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This Is England (Shane Meadows, 2007) is a gritty representation of 80s Britain. The film starts with a montage of iconic news clips from the time, set to a song from the same time period. This establishes the setting for the rest of the film in a visually interesting way. A number of the clips may make the audience feel reminiscent of the time period (as long as they were alive of course) and remind them of their own youth which is part of the ongoing theme throughout the film of a coming of age story.

Another strong theme of the film is the British attitude to other cultures and immigration into the country. Towards the end this becomes the critical theme and the nationalist attitude of one character results in the beating up and possible murder of a character simply because of his nationality being different. This reflects some of the attitudes that were present in the time period within Britain which means the film can be called an example British social realism.

The camera work in this film is quite clever as most shots appear to be hand held and filmed at eye level. Also each shot tends to be moving. This adds to the realism of the film and the directors attempt at making scenes feel uncoordinated and almost like a documentary.

In addition to the faux documentary feel many shots stay on for a long period of time and show a great deal of the scene. Obviously in documentary’s sometimes a singular camera would be used as it easier to film. This technique is most prevalent when there is 2 or 3 characters in the scene probably as the more characters are in the scene the more shots would be needed to cover everyone in the scene’s reactions.

The film begins with a montage of news clips regarding the Falklands war amongst other significant moments in the 80s (shown below) which quickly establishes the time and setting of the film. A similar montage is done later in the film which shows more images of the war which is significant to the plot as the protagonist’s father was killed in the war and at the time this montage appears in the film the character is reflecting on his fathers life and questioning wherever or not his dad would be proud of him after witnessing an attack made by a nationalist and aggressive character to a Jamaican character.

There is a grainy texture throughout which is most likely a filter added over the top of the footage in post production which looks like the kind of quality you would expect on a VHS tape which makes the film seem like it could have been filmed at the time, yet again this is another key factor of how the film feels realistic. Also the colours are quite saturated which could be representative of the bleak attitude in the country at the time (due to recession, a lack of jobs and the war etc).

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A great deal of the sound design utilises non diagetic sound and if there is music at least in the first half of the film any music in the film is part of a compiled score of songs from the 80s. The music genre involves a lot of reggae, specifically tracks by the Toots and the Maytals who are famous for reggae and ska music. The Toots and the Maytals come from Jamaica which is significant because of the racial themes throughout the film and the skinheads were associated with being a following for music which was built from new music that was being created between different ethnicities from different countries. There is a scene in the film where this is mentioned and the 2 characters (one of which was originally from Jamaica and one who was from Britain and was a nationalist) get to a point of seeing each other as equal through their taste in the same music.

The third act of the film features a more composed score that is very emotive and matches the dramatic changes occurring in the film. It may also represent the change in the main protagonist as it goes from the fun and more fast paced pop songs to the more sombre and slower music reflecting the character becoming more mature and witnessing the darker sides of some of the other characters. An example of the music is shown below, the following clip makes up the depressing and bleak end to today’s blog.