This Is England

This is England is set in Britain in 1983, the year the British, under the Thatcher government, went to war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands. The film is a masterful exposition of how the skinhead subculture prevalent among European youth for a time was allied to racist, nationalist movements. Like all discriminatory ideologies, racism and nationalism are based rigidly and unambiguously on the segregation of ‘us’ and ‘them’ (the others). The ‘us’ part of the equation is subjected to mystification, idealized and posited as a monolithic whole. ‘The others’, on the other hand, are humiliated, made into an object of hate and gradually given enemy status. In an equation like this, symbolic violence (humiliation) against the other is always present as a matter of course. As the sense of threat intensifies, symbolic violence switches easily to the physical kind. Racist-nationalist ideologies win mass support from comparatively poor and deprived sections of society, even if ultimately they play a role in reinforcing prevailing capitalism. These ideologies ruthlessly exploit existing commonplace distinctions between ‘us and them’ with respect to the injustices inherent in poverty and deprivation; and they do so by reformatting the discriminations, but at the same time giving them new edge. As a result, the poor and deprived who join fascist-nationalist movements direct their anger not at the prevailing system, the real cause of their present status, but at the others; the others, who are codified by these movements as some sort of scapegoat. The movements refuse to see the others as people of equal worth to themselves; they legitimize the use of violence against them and, as a result of the brutal violence they employ, become devoid of all humanity themselves. In the vast majority of cases, the all-out massacres and mass wars witnessed by the history of modern mankind have been triggered by racist-nationalist movements. And in This is England, it’s possible to identi


Shane Meadows

Shane Meadows

Danny Cohen

Chris Wyatt

Film Four

Andrew Shim
Jo Hartley
Stephen Graham
Thomas Turgoose

Ludovico Einaudi

Best Film
Best Newcomer Bifa
Jury Prize Rome

15th Festival on Wheels