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British Cinema

ENGL 016.401
instructor(s):
fulfills requirements:
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major

British Cinema
 
Historically, the British film industry has gotten little respect.  Possessing neither the economic might of Hollywood, the symbolic prestige of the European art cinema, nor the exotic appeal of the new national cinemas of Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East, it has suffered from persistent neglect in the curriculum of Film Studies.  The great French director Francois Truffaut remarked that “British cinema” was “a contradiction in terms”; even Britain’s own great director Stephen Frears once said that “there is no British cinema, it doesn’t exist.”  In this seminar, we will discover that the British cinema not only exists but has proved in many respects to be a more durable and resilient alternative to Hollywood than any of the other cinemas of Europe.  We will consider some of the distinctive modes and genres of British film, the special relationship between film and television in the British context, and the innovative strategies British filmmakers have used to cope with increasingly transnational forms of cinematic production, distribution, and reception.  Along the way, we will watch fifteen or twenty outstanding films, ranging from classics like Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner to recent hits like Happy Go Lucky and Slumdog Millionaire.  This seminar will be a good opportunity not only to acquaint yourself with British cinema but to learn something about contemporary British culture and society and about the discipline of Film Studies