Somers Town (12a)
Somers Town occupies the area in London around King’s Cross, Euston and St Pancras. Eurostar approached Shane Meadows and asked him to make a film that included St Pancras, Paris and Belgium to celebrate the opening of their terminal at St Pancras. Shane Meadows demurred at first, then changed his mind with the assurance that he would retain complete creative control. He states that Eurostar were as good as their word, although he dropped Belgium from the mix.
“I really liked some of the architecture” Meadows says of Somers Town, “and also the fact that even most Londoners had never heard of it. It’s quite a transient population there and it’s very much an area which most people walk past on their way from Kings Cross to Euston, but it’s got a real history and sense of locality. Working there for a couple of weeks you begin to realise how London is made up of lots of small communities like Somers Town. And the location gave the film a real sense of integrity – every single London location was in Somers Town and the whole film (apart from the ending) was shot in a single square mile. That’s a very unusual thing to try and do in a film.”
Shot in black and white, Thomas Turgoose (revealing a gift for comic timing), star of Meadows’ This is England, plays Tommo, a young teenager who has arrived from Nottingham with his few possessions in his bag. He knows no one, has nowhere to live and no job. He becomes friends with Marek, the son of a Pole working on the St Pancras development and finds that they are both in love with the same girl. They also discover that people can also be a lot kinder and nicer than expected.
This is Shane Meadows’ sixth feature film and his first set in London, his previous films being set in his native Midlands. He uses long, slow takes to allow the relationships between the main characters to reveal themselves and develop. He has won and been nominated for numerous awards, including a BAFTA for This is England (2006).
Cast – Elisa Lasowski, Ireneusz Czop, Kate Dickie, Perry Benson, Piotr Jagiello, Thomas Turgoose
Shane Meadows | UK | 2008 | 72 minutes | 12a
Weighted vote 80%