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Shane MeadowsCritical Essays$
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Martin Fradley, Sarah Godfrey, and Melanie Williams

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748676392

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748676392.001.0001

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Twenty-first-Century Social Realism: Shane Meadows and New British Realism

Twenty-first-Century Social Realism: Shane Meadows and New British Realism

(p.35) Chapter 3 Twenty-first-Century Social Realism: Shane Meadows and New British Realism
Shane Meadows

David Forrest

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter seeks to locate Shane Meadows work within broader traditions of British social realism. With references to the British documentary tradition of the 1920s and 1930s, the British New Wave cycle of the late 1950s and early 1960s, and the work of prominent realist directors such as Ken Loach, Meadows' films are explored in light of their similarities to and departures from established trends in British cinema. The chapter makes the case that Meadows and his contemporaries such as Andrea Arnold, Duane Hopkins, Pawel Pawlikowski, Samantha Morton and Joanna Hogg can be seen to move towards a more poetic form of realism that rejects didacticism and explicit explorations of social issues, in favour of a more ambiguous image-led narration. Contemporary British realism is characterised by a focus on young, marginalised protagonists searching for meaning in poetically charged urban and suburban environments. As such, the representation of landscape, space and place is a persistent source of interest within the films. Works from across Meadows' oeuvre are explored in relation to these areas, drawing parallels with the aesthetic and thematic emphases adopted by his contemporaries.

Keywords:   Shane Meadows, Social Realism, Genre, Andrea Arnold, Ken Loach

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