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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Somers Town - Not a Eurostar ad

If you've been following
my Twitter stream you might have noticed that I was going to see Shane Meadows' new film Somers Town last night. It's been in the news a lot, not just because it's the first film that Meadows has produced that is shot outside of the North of England & not just because it's been wowing people at the Edinburgh Film Festival - but because it began life as a project funded by Eurostar.

Somers Town Tube ad

Eurostar, sponsoring a film? Isn't it going to be all shots of people with luggage getting off the London Underground at King's Cross, close ups of tickets, people saying how cheap and fast it is to travel to Paris and lingering shots of The Meeting Place statue at St Pancras Station?

The Meeting Place, St Pancras station, by Isabella Perry

It's far, far from that.

It's a really gentle, funny and beautifully shot black and white film about the relationship between two teenage boys. A runaway from the North of England, played with a cocksure matey & comic arrogance by 16 year old Thomas Turgoose, (who also starred in Meadows' award winning This is England) meets Polish Marek played by Piotr Jagiello. Tommo stays "holed up" in Marek's flat in Somers Town - an area of London around King's Cross. They meet a beautiful French girl and both fall in love with her. That's essentially the plot, there's no real twists in the story but I won't say what happens in the end.

I saw the horrific and disturbingly brilliant Dead Man's Shoes by Shane Meadows a week or so ago on Channel 4 and it gave me nightmares. This film could not be further from Meadows' gritty and violent work, well it wouldn't with Eurostar being behind it. Can you imagine "Travel on the Eurostar and get drugged up & beaten around the head by a gas mask wearing vigilante"?

It's not a "glorified corporate video" though. The original 10 minute film commissioned by the rail company intrigued Meadows so much that he turned it into a 72 minute film which was shot in ten days.

Yeah, you get to see the odd shot of the new Eurostar station building works (Marek's dad is one of the workers) and the towers of St Pancras station form a cathedral-like backdrop to many of the outdoor scenes. If you're expecting a railway film, you'll be disappointed. But if you want a slice of working class & immigrant life in London living within the shadow of a major station, you'll be happy.

Somers Town at Tricycle Cinema

Somers Town opened on August 22nd and is in cinemas nationwide. I saw it last night with Jemimah and Rory at the Tricycle cinema in Kilburn, which was surprisingly empty. This was good news for us, as we got to watch a great film, not at West End prices, in a quiet and comfy cinema.


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