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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