THIS IS ENGLAND
BEFORE WATCHING THE FILM...
Observa lo que se cuenta
Un retrato histórico, social y personal.
La historia de un adolescente huérfano y solitario, durante el verano en que entra en contacto con la cultura skin. Una historia marcada por una vivencia personal (la muerte de su padre) y social (su entorno de relaciones y el ambiente deprimido de la ciudad), que le llevan a vivir experiencias que le superan.
Todo ello en la Inglaterra de principios de los años 80, la de Margaret Thatcher y la crisis de Las Malvinas.
Una época de paro e inmigración, con surgimiento de grupos neonazis, utilizados por políticos extremistas y nacionalistas (Frente Nacional), que propician el odio contra las minorías raciales.
Observa cómo se cuenta
Con imágenes documentales de informativos de la época en el prólogo y en el epílogo, como contrapunto de la historia principal, que es la personal de Shaun.
'This is England refleja:
1. Los comportamientos racistas y xenófobos en la sociedad.
2. La importancia de buscar modelos que ayuden al desarrollo personal en la adolescencia. El protagonista encuentra a una pandilla de skinheads que le adopta. Entra a formar parte de un grupo de amigos que serán sus referentes, modelos masculinos a seguir tras la muerte de su padre, pero ¿y la figura de la madre, no podría haber tenido más presencia y peso?
ACTIVITIES FOR THE ENGLISH CLASS
2. Seeing a film like this is useful because…It whiles away the time It makes you think about the importance of having a positive family environment I learn more about something I have heard of It is good for nothing I can learn more about the skin movement and England of the 80s You might forget your fear to films in the original language
3. The film in Spain is rated for older than 13, while in UK it is rated for older than 18 because of its coarse language and racist violence.
However, some cities decided not to observe this order; they said the film should reach the white teenager audience in order to change their perception. Do you think this is a good decision? Why?
4. Relate the following comment by Shane Meadows, about the racism he found among the skins, with Shaun’s evolution along the film: When one is 12 years old, and you see nobody in your town can get a job, and someone says to you “it is that people’s fault”, it is quite easy to believe them. I believed that for 3 weeks, but there are people who still think like that when they are adults, and that is frightening.
5. The director said after the casting: I could see myself in that boy. I remember in my school there were teachers who said to me that I would end up in jail, that I was to expect just bad things in life. But people believed in me, and I had done something with my life. The director of This is England imprints a strong autobiographical sense to the film, for example the name of the protagonist is quite similar to the name of … can you see other parallelisms?
6. We are talking about…
… changeable character and violent behaviour,
… innocent, naïve, lonely and insecure,
… immature and easily influenced, sweet-toothed,
… sensible and rational,
… warm, a bit bighead/lout, but trustworthy,
7. What does Shaun need and how does he show that need in the film?
8. The last day of term we can see some guys picking on him about his dead father, and they end up in fight while other children exhort them shouting fight! fight! What would you do if you were in that schoolyard?
I would tell Shaun not to mind what they say I would tell the other guy he had gone too far I would help Shaun in the fight because he is right Nothing, that is none of my business I would call the teachers.
By the way, do you think teachers settle the question in the right way?
9. Are you not surprised that Cynthia, Shaun’s mother, passes her duties as a mother to a skin gang who are way older than her own child? Why do you think she is doing this?
10.Do you think that skins nowadays, who are xenophobic and racist, also suffered affective abandonment within their family and so now they are violent and exclusive as it happens with Combo, or are there other reasons? Which ones?
11.If you analyze the relationships among the members of the gang you can see they are rather shallow, based mainly in that they share the same dress code and language… than in emotional or rational processes. Could you give some examples?
12.Focus on Woody and Combo. What differences can you see between them? Woody Combo 26
13.Now have a look at Shaun, do you think you would do the things he does in the film if you were in his place?
14.Have a look at the National Front meeting scene, from the moment Combo and the gang take the car to get to the bar where the meeting has to take place: what do you think about the people gathered there? Are they the kind of people you imagined going to that meeting?
15.Can you imagine the future of these characters?
16.What is the character you like the most apart from Shaun?
17.Have you ever needed to feel you belonged to a group? How did you solve it?
18.Looking at your clothes, at the music you hear… would you say you belong to some urban tribe? Which one?
19.Do you know the word that appears the most in the film?
20.The film was shot in…
6 weeks 9 weeks 2 weeks of intense work
21.You are one of the scriptwriters of the film and you have to write a different new end.
22.You still are the scriptwriter, but now your have to introduce a new character in the story ¿which character and for what purpose?
23.What parts of the film have affected or moved you the most and why?
24.Ask about Margaret Thatcher at home, they will probably remember her nickname…
25.Draw a double timeline. Put in those lines the Margaret Thatcher government and the Spanish government of the same époque. With the help of a history book compare both politics.
26.Choose among the following adjectives what you think describes the film better:
Drama Amusing Predictable Advisable It has a moral message Surprising Social cinema Blunt Sad Too violent …
27.Knowing that This is England had its premiere in Spain on 4th of January, 2008 you will find easily the critics made to it in paper and internet magazines. Late on you can compare them to your own critic.