MEANTIME
1984, Janus Films, 102 min, UK, Dir: Mike Leigh

Mike Leigh’s slow-burning depiction of economic degradation in Thatcher’s England is the culmination of the writer-director’s pioneering work in television. Unemployment is rampant in London’s working-class East End, where a middle-aged couple and their two sons languish in a claustrophobic public-housing flat. As the brothers (Phil Daniels and Tim Roth) grow increasingly disaffected, Leigh punctuates the grinding boredom of their daily existence with tense encounters, including with a priggish aunt (Marion Bailey) who has managed to become middle-class and a blithering skinhead on the verge of psychosis (a scene-stealing Gary Oldman, in his first major role). Informed by Leigh’s now-trademark improvisational process and propelled by the lurching rhythms of its Beckett-like dialogue, MEANTIME is an unrelenting, often blisteringly funny look at life on the dole.


QUADROPHENIA
1979, Westchester Films, 115 min, UK, Dir: Franc Roddam

Inspired by The Who’s landmark concept album and featuring some of composer Pete Townsend’s most ambitious music, director Franc Roddam’s QUADROPHENIA is set against the backdrop of early 1960s England, where scooter-driving Mods and leather-clad Rockers clash for control of the beaches and juke joints. Phil Daniels stars as the rude boy struggling against Britain’s ultra-rigid class and education system, with support from Mark Wingett and Sting (in his acting debut).


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