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 class, 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. This class 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 place of Britain in the discipline of Film Studies.
NOTE: The class will be part of a pilot program using the new course management software called Canvas. Students who enroll will automatically be added to the Canvas site where they will find the syllabus and other course materials.