Archive for March, 2009

Independent Cinema and its Audience

March 30, 2009




TV Crime

March 28, 2009


Film Interpretation and Social/Cultural Studies

March 28, 2009



This is England and Dirty Pretty Things

March 28, 2009



Thanks Luke for the interesting comment; however can we write our ideas in the post itself? (Click on the ‘edit’ button). Don’t worry about getting it all into the exam; you won’t have time and you don’t have to – Lacey.

I think it’s clear to see some strong links between the two films, in the sense of inclusion of exclusion. The sense of racism which is seen in This is England, portrayed by Combo, is not so present in Dirty Pretty Things, however this is mainly due to the context of each films. This is England is set in a time when economic depression was widespread across the country, whereas Dirty Pretty Things, set at the start of the 21st century, does not have these economic conditions featured in the film. Instead, it’s sense of exclusion lies with the corruption presented by the crooked immigration officials, who seem to take great pleasure, and go to extreme lengths, to catch people who have already suffered. With this, I feel as though the film is presenting us with the idea that there is a strong sense of irony in the rights immigrants have on entering Britain. They are allowed asylum, but the officials (who are there for the asylum seekers protection) are more than happy to go to extreme lengths to get them deported.

This irony isn’t played on so much in This is England, and relies more on it’s exclusivity overpowering the inclusive side on a personal level, rather than a diplomatic one. It gives a lot more views about being English than Dirty Pretty Things, with Woody, Combo and Shaun all delivering certain messages throughout. Personally I think that Combo’s racism would not necessarily be part of his characteristics if it weren’t for the economic instability facing the country at that time. I feel as though he uses them as a scapegoat for his own failings in life, which can be seen with the different attitudes he presents towards Milky throughout the film. Woody’s more inclusive side gives a strong message that England is a good place, and that even the people perceived as rough and aggressive (the Skinheads) are still inclusive, and are very proud of their country being an open place. I think there are strong parallels with Woody’s behavior to that of the Hippie movement in the 60’s, and Beatlemania. The love and happiness that that produced can be seen in Woody I think. I think Shaun’s idea of being English is in limbo. He has been stuck into a place where he is not really aware anymore. His rejection of the St. George’s cross at the end, symbolising the National Front, shows a strong move away from Combo’s viewpoint, however I feel as though he is now too damaged to have that loving and inclusive view that Woody has. He is, in a sense, excommunicating himself.- James Brown, 1st April.

I think that The real sense of being English can be shown through Woody’s behaviour and that his inclusiveness is a better representation of being English than the racism shown by combo –Cris Barlow, 3rd April

This is england is about fear of others whereas dirty pretty things is about the life of the others… –Charley evans

I really do think that both films challenge each n ever one of our own beliefs. its trying to make us think twice about the issues that around at the moment.  even though differnt types of people will have their different views about it i think in many ways it does make them think twice. differnt people will have their own opinions about the racism and the proble with illegal immigrants. Tyrone Michael 🙂

I think, at first, Shaun’s entry into Hooliganism is all about wanting to belong. But when Combo shows up, he is eager to teach Shaun and the rest of the gang what he’s learned in prison, and the (split) group inevitably goes down the path of violence and hatred. For example, Shaun goes into the shop and shows hatred towards the shopkeeper, who is considered as an ‘other’. And Shaun’s rejection at the end shows the violence has got too much for him and is rejecting Combo’s way. –Joel Cavney

Some very good points here!
Very concisely written, I’m quite suprised with how much text there is for all the points that are expressed (no offence sir, I know it’s your job and everything).
Nicely done, a good example of how we all should aim to write within the exam.
It seems to put things more into perspective than what I first assumed the themes of DPT & TiE were, especially the point about the ending scene to TiE. It had never occured to me that Shaun’s views had been left undecided, as I always assumed that the ending scene represented the change in generational thinking. Where the younger generation brakes off from the trends of the old and paves its own path with their own thoughts, opinions and views. The throwing of the flag (apart from the rejection of racism) a litteral symbol of this.
The different ways in which the ending can be interpreated is certainly something to keep in your mind, it’s even maybe worth a mention in the actual paper itself as it can show a broad layout of understanding.
I’m not sure I can fully agree with the comparison made between Woody and the Hippe revolution however. I can certainly agree with the previous points made on how Woody is a representation of how the ‘normal’ English population think, but in contrast to the Hippies and Beatlemania it seems a little farfetched for my understanding.
I don’t know, maybe it’s because that era is way out of my time, I’m not sure.
I always looked upon Woody as a representation of the good that resides within all English people, a small banner of hope for a future time maybe.

Tell me what you think lads and lasses!
Get commenting! -Luke Haley

DPT is focused on the ‘others’, and they have the ‘dirty’ jobs that the English people don’t want but in TiE, the jobs that the ‘others’ have are the jobs that are being stolen from the people of England, which makes Combo’s view of the others negative. So the ‘others’ in DPT are represented more positively, as they aren’t stealing any jobs from the English people, as they have the jobs that the English people don’t want. -Joel Cavney
The ending in Dirty pretty things leaves alot of questions un answered. As we know Okwe is leaving the country to see his daughter but because he is wanted for murdering his wife in his own country Okwe living a happy life with his daughter there is therefore quite unlikely because of the incident with his wife years ago. Also Senay who is going to America will also not nessecarily live a great life as even though she has a european passport his might not get her past the customs office in America as the passport was made by senior Juan there isnt any deffinite level of ligitamicy to the passport. Therefore Senay could face the exact problems in New York as she has done in London Iain Fenton

I personally agree with tyrone, both films really do challenge our views and thoughts on racism today in england and i think this is empised (if thats how you spell it!) by the ending of “this is england” as when sean throws the english flag in tthe sea it not only shows sean rejecting combo’s influence but also alows it to ask the audience “what is your view?”….

Charlotte Evans

I think that both the films endings leave unanswered questions. Like Iain says, Senay is going to America and going to be going through exactly the same as what happened in England. Also Okwe we presume he may leave for where he hails from, but we don’t know whether he will be going back to where he is wanted for murder or will he carry on. As for Shaun in this is England, he has rejected Combo represented by him throwing away the flag given to him by combo, and is back to where he was before, not really with friends, playing alone. We could assume that he goes back to Woody’s group of friends where he was welcome before and as we believe Woody’s attitude to be inclusive, we may not doubt that he would be welcomed back as he was only missled and didn’t do so much wrong. – Alex Rattigan.

I think that there is a difference to how we, as an audience, are introduced to the communities in each film. In This is England we are slowly introduced to the skinhead community through the perspective of Shaun as we see his appearence and personality develops through this community. Whereas in Dirty Pretty Things we are thrown straight into the community of the illegal, and legal, immigrants where we are shown the the strive for work and survival from Okwe. I think this is because the knowledge of an immigrants life is well known, whereas the life of skinheads can be missunderstood as being racist and violent. The racist and violent perseption is proved wrong with Woody’s group of skinheads as they are almost family like, which is why I think we aren’t thrown straight into the skinhead community like in Dirty Pretty Things. -Michael Macfadyen

In the Valley of Elah and Crossfire

March 28, 2009



Crossfire is a film noir as it uses light and shadows to create mood and atmosphere. elah isn’t film noir it is more real in style.

Nial Spence.

I agree with Nial. I feel as though, if you class film noir as a genre, then Elah has taken it as a very big influence. Both films do stem from the hard-boiled crime novels and pulp fiction that was around in the 20’s and 30’s, however both of them use it in very different ways. Crossfire clearly takes influences from Chandler in the utilisation of the detective playing on the rough, dirty side of the law, whereas Elah is, in a sense, a lot cleaner. Hank doesn’t appear to be harrowed by years of service, but is proud of it. Finlay, in Crossfire, is the complete opposite. His world-weary view is something that could have been used to convey a very strong message about the state of America, however due to the Production Code this was not possible. Elah had a lot more freedom in this sense, and had the ability to give a much more pessimistic viewpoint.

James Brown.

We also see that in Crossfire that the villain  “Monty” is shown to be a psychopath from the start of the film and that he has not been influenced or changed in anyway to be how he is. As due to the production code films from the 1940 had to abind to this code. this meant that they couldn’t say anything bad about the armed forces. As crossfire was made in 1947 then it had to a bind to these rules.

Whereas in Elah it didn’t have to a bind to these rules so we see that the villains (mikes fellow soldiers) are shown to have changed into psychopaths by there experiences in the war in Iraq. they are shown to be desensified by there experiences. So this is showing to the audience that the war isn’t good and it is affects the soldiers.  we also see that hank has been changed by his experiences in the army as he is very straight and we see him make his bed and sort his shoes as if still in the army.

This brings up the comparison of what to do with returning veterans in the two films?

As we see in Crossfire that Mitch has been changed my the war as he is a wreak and just what to see his wife. As in the 1940’s there were hundreds of veterans coming back from the war and the army didn’t know what to do with them and the soldiers didn’t know what to do with them selves as they weren’t used to being back after being at war. we see this in the character Mitch.

Niall Spence

Yeah i agree with both of you, Naill was right talking about film noir in crossfire. The lighting and shadows are great in this movie, they create an amazing effect and mood throughout the movie. The lighting also creates suspence within the movie. Elah on the other hand is clearly not film noir but there is a great use of dark colours, such as blue and black etc. What Niall says is spot on about the comparison between the two about the returning veterans coming back from both wars and the soldiers not knowing what to do with theirself, this is shown in Elah by Mitch being Killed by one of his own fellow soldiers. It seems that killing has become so much a part of their daily life that they dont think twice about the consequences to the family of  Mitch.

Matty Frost

I agree with all of these posts, but I would say that the production code in the 1940’s would have allowed the character of Monty to have been changed into a murderer by outside circumstances, just not by the US army

Sean 🙂

I feel that Elah goes;  Where’s Mike, what happened to Mike, who killed Mike,and why they (his friends) did it to Mike. And Crossfire goes; Who’s done it and why they’ve done it. So you can tell that ‘Elah’ is a more complicated film in terms of the plot, so it will have more twists and turns.

Joel Cavney

How to ‘ace’ the exam

March 28, 2009


In What Would Google Do? Jeff Jarvis describes how Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, did at Harvard when faced with the prospect of failing his art course:

‘He went to the internet and downloaded images of all the peices of art he knew would be covered in the exam. He put them on a web page and added blank boxes under each. Then he emailed the address of this page to his classmates, telling them he’d just put up a study guide… The class… filled in the blanks with the essential knowledge about each peice of art, editing each other as they went, collaborating to get it just right… Zuckerberg aced the exam [and] the professor said the class as a whole got better grades than usual. They captured the wisdom of the crowd…’ (p. 49 – my italics).

The purpose of this blog is to provide students with the opportunity to create the perfect revision tool for each of the examined courses in the media department at Benton Park Tech College in Leeds, UK. Each student will be able to access the blog and contribute to the pages set up around topics and texts. You will all be able to edit the entries as well as adding comments.

Of course, some may think that they’ll let everyone else to the work and benefit from the blog anyway. If everyone decides to do that no one will benefit; if everyone contributes, everyone benefits greatly (and there’s no doubt actually contributing to the blog will in itself be a form of very effective revision).

You can find the topics and texts you are studying by using the categories and tags. To be able to edit the blog you need to create a WordPress account and send me the email you used in registering with them:

Hello world!

March 28, 2009

Welcome to This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!