University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

“Now I’m The Monster”: Remembering, Repeating and Working Through in Dead Man’s Shoes and TwentyFourSeven.

Elliott, Paul (2013) “Now I’m The Monster”: Remembering, Repeating and Working Through in Dead Man’s Shoes and TwentyFourSeven. In: Shane Meadows: Critical Essays. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, pp. 83-94. ISBN Hardback: 9780748676392 Ebook: 9780748676408

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“We must be prepared to find, therefore, that the patient yields to the compulsion to repeat, which now replaces the impulsion to remember....” Freud

Twenty Four Seven and Dead Man's Shoes share a temporal structure; both films span three distinct time frames: a distant past, that is symbolised by childhood memory and signified by degraded film stock, a more recent past that is often violent and shocking and a meaningful present that attempts to come to terms with the pain and the anguish of encysted trauma.

This paper argues that this temporality is both a structural and a thematic trope and that it feeds into, what are important elements in both works, trauma and loss. Using Freud's celebrated paper 'Remembering, Repeating and Working-through' (Erinnern, Wiederholen und Durchar- beiten ), I argue that both films can be seen as explorations of the compulsion to continually re-enact painful events born out of repressed or inaccessible memories. For Freud, trauma that can not be consciously remembered is doomed to be forever repeated until it is worked through in psychoanalysis or until it ceases at death. Such theory allows us not only to view Twenty Four Seven and Dead Man's Shoes as films primarily concerned with mourning and coming to terms with loss but offers us insights into the films' structure and the specific avenues of catharsis open to the director and the audience.

More than this however, as I shall assert, remembering, repeating and working-through stand as quilting points for many of the canonical tropes of Meadows' films: the search for a father (This is England, Somers Town), violent confrontation (A Room for Romeo Brass) and loss of innocence (This is England, A Room for Romeo Brass) can all be viewed as part of the same process; a process that seems to go right the very heart of the director's filmic and psychological interests.

Item Type: Book Section
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Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Arts
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Depositing User: Paul Elliott
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2012 14:23
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2019 09:56

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