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 Post subject: 890 Meantime
PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 4:46 pm 
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Meantime

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A slow-burning depiction of economic degradation in Thatcher's England, Mike Leigh's Meantime was the culmination of the writer-director's pioneering work in television and became his breakthrough theatrical release. 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.

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION:

• New, restored 2K digital transfer, supervised by cinematographer Roger Pratt and director Mike Leigh, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• New conversation between Leigh and musician Jarvis Cocker
• New conversation between actor Marion Bailey and critic Amy Raphael
• More!
• PLUS: An essay by film scholar Sean O'Sullivan


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 Post subject: Re: 890 Meantime
PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 6:56 am 

Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:32 am
What's interesting about this is that it's been reframed from 4:3 master to 1.66 by both Leigh and Roger Pratt.
I was wrong about it not being released in yesterday's announcements!


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 Post subject: Re: 890 Meantime
PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 9:36 am 
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Well, you can't argue with their authority! And I assume the reframing was done intelligently, with shot-by-shot tweaks where necessary.


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 Post subject: Re: 890 Meantime
PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 10:32 am 
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If the film was genuinely framed for 1.33:1 and only that ratio, I'd be surprised to learn that any of the parties would want to present it cropped. Isn't it more likely that festival screenings were intended from the start and consequently it was shot safe?


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 Post subject: Re: 890 Meantime
PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 11:07 am 
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It certainly had at least one festival screening - and this was the time when films notionally made for Channel 4 were getting cinema releases, so there's every possibility that 1.66:1 was the intended ratio based on that possibility. In fact, given Leigh and Pratt's endorsement, that seems extremely likely.

If I had a clue where it was, I'd dig out my old DVD and have a look at the headroom - my guess is that there'll be a fair bit throughout.


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 Post subject: Re: 890 Meantime
PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 4:35 pm 
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I do have a DVD copy to hand, and I've just watched parts of it (and fast-forwarded other parts of it) zoomed to 1.66:1. I suspect that, as suggested, it was shot framed or protected for that ratio. I don't think you could show it wider, though - in one close-up of the unemployment benefit clerk early on, her mouth is at the very bottom of the frame in 1.66:1 while she is speaking. Also, at least two of the end-credits slides would be cropped if shown wider.


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 Post subject: Re: 890 Meantime
PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 5:30 pm 
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I saw the TCM broadcast a couple of weeks ago (no doubt from the same master Criterion will use) and it didn't seem egregiously wrong at 1.66:1. But as GaryC noted, it gets awfully cramped at times, and there was at least one point where it looked like they'd used some extreme tilting-and-scanning—it's a low-angle shot of a character doing something with the ceiling and it actually showed the rounded edges along the top corners of the frame. But that wouldn't necessarily have anything to do with cropping to 1.66:1. The only explanation I can think of is that there was something in the bottom portion of the frame that looked normal at 4:3 but somehow looked off if partially cropped, so they decided to remove it altogether even if it meant exposing the upper edges of the frame.


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 Post subject: Re: 890 Meantime
PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:13 pm 
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"Interview from 2007 with actor Tim Roth" had been added to the special features.


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 Post subject: Re: 890 Meantime
PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:53 pm 
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Beaver


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 Post subject: Re: 890 Meantime
PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 8:18 am 
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Svet-time


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 Post subject: Re: 890 Meantime
PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 1:16 pm 
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Dug out my ITV UK DVD of this recently. It's been a good few years since I watched it, but I enjoyed it, though more as a period-piece than anything. It's the first of a loose trilogy of life under Thatcher's reign (along with '88's High Hopes and '90's Life is Sweet) and the effect on those who didn't fit-in with her policies. The film is set in East London in one of those vast concrete tower-blocks which were erected in the '60's as a cheap, misguided attempt to solve the housing crisis (and post-war slum regeneration), but which quickly came to symbolise the savage un-tethering of community. A disaster waiting to happen (as well as a health and safety nightmare as the events in London this Summer have all too easily shown). The exteriors here are particularly dystopian, with the estate being shown as eerily depopulated, newspapers and rubbish solemnly blowing through the ground, concrete vista's. Interiors don't come off much better either, with cavernous, low-lit rooms wreathed in cigarette-smoke. All in all, it's a great street-level time-snap of 1983, with dole-offices straight out of the 1950's (no computer touch-screens here), skin-head culture a still visible presence and public-houses populated by misfits and those who's spirits have been broken (actually that pretty much describes my local Wetherspoons now, but never mind).
It's still very watchable and quite funny. Tim Roth is outstanding and though Oldman and Daniels's performances threaten to slide into one-note caricature, the latter has a still touching scene toward the end with his brother that adds a much needed pathos to the whole film. Where the film fails is in Leigh's usual patronising class comparison which he comes back to time and time again (most explicitly in the execrable High Hopes and the brilliant Naked) and time and time again it's clunky! In the ITV disc extras (which are well worth it, by the way) Leigh seriously likens Marion Baily's character Barbara - the brother's well-meaning auntie - to that of Margaret Thatcher and views her attempt to offer her dim-witted nephew a couple of days of work as middle-class condescension. I think that's a rather harsh judgement on this character, excellently played by Baily, but what else do you expect from Leigh? He has always portrayed the middle-classes with barely-suppressed contempt, though what Leigh really relishes is in depicting those women newly-graduated to middle-class life as self-loathing neurotics with awful taste (see Beverly in Abigail's Party or Valerie in High Hopes). To remain poor, but 'umble, kicking against the pricks, like Phil Daniel's Mark (every line a cynical jibe) is to keep it real. To be fair though, Leigh does have Mark observe toward the end of the film (in a rare moment of sincerity), "you got to take your hat's off to them (his auntie and uncle). Getting out of this area. New life. Respectable friends. Picture of happiness". Though of course, Leigh immediately undercuts this sentiment by cutting directly to Barbara slumped tearfully against her bedroom wall, a half-empty bottle of gin positioned in the foreground, while her husband John (the great Alfred Molina) looks on perplexed.
This new package looks good though. Really dig the cover art. Reminds me of Sylvain Chomet for some reason.


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