Camden News - by SIMON WROE Published: 31 July 2008
Cast member Perry Benson with producer Barnaby
Somers Town in sharp focus
IT has withstood the scrutiny of the critics and weathered the Berlin Film Festival but Somers Town, the latest film from Shane Meadows, received its baptism by fire on Tuesday evening in a private screening for the area’s residents. Popcorn and mineral water lined the seats of the 200-seat auditorium at the Odeon Parkway as a gesture of gratitude from the This Is England director to the
residents of Somers Town, who are thanked at the end of the film.
Although the audience response was favourable, the film, which was funded by the train company Eurostar, drew flak from some for its “unrealistic” portrayal of the neighbourhood.
Cheers at the sight of local café The Golden Tulip turned to disconsolate mutters when the interior shots revealed the staff had been replaced with professional actors.
Candy Udwin, chairwoman of the Somers Town People’s Forum, said afterwards: “If people were expecting a documentary about Somers Town it clearly isn’t. The people of Somers Town are largely missing from the film. It’s a story about people passing through.”
She added: “It didn’t show the permanent residents in a very favourable light. There are the kids who beat up the main character, the guy who shouts at people to get off his property, and a wheeler-dealer character. “But the scene with the kids sitting in the playground getting drunk was quite an accurate representation of the options available for people in Somers Town.”
The black and white film stars Thomas Turgoose
(the young lead in This Is
England) and Perry Benson, whose family live in Somers Town.
Shot in 10 days, it follows the interweaving lives of a teenager down from Nottingham (Thurgood) and a Polish boy and his father, who works on the Eurostar line at St Pancras.
Resident Nick Hayes said: “I loved the film. I have just one criticism – the young lad who gets beaten up wouldn’t have had his ring and chain left on him. “In Somers Town they would have stripped him of the lot.”
Fellow resident Lee Wong saw things differently, however.
“The film shows how different people can get along together and we’ve got every nation in the world in Somers Town,” she said.Spurrier;