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British Cinema: Film, Television, and Transatlantic Screen Culture

ENGL 2420.401
also offered as: ARTH 2930/CIMS 2420/COML 2420
TR 10:15-11:44am

This is a wide-ranging introduction to the “other” major cinema in English: the films of England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. The British film industry has been thriving in the 21st century, but it remains the underdog in a global media environment dominated by Hollywood. We will consider some of the ways British filmmakers have positioned themselves in the space of world cinema and television as close rivals or radical alternatives to the American model. Our approach will be to study two films a week, mixing films from the 21st century with films from earlier moments in British cinema history from the 1930s through the 1990s. Our aim will be to discern some of the enduring cinematic modes and transatlantic strategies that contribute to the national “signature” of British film. Our screenings will run the gamut from the big-budget James Bond and Harry Potter franchises, to mid-sized transnational productions such as Pride & Prejudice and Slumdog Millionaire, to more independent or artisanal work by such directors as Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, Sally Potter, Michael Winterbottom, Lynne Ramsay, Steve McQueen, and Andrea Arnold. A number of films we will study were made for British and/or American television, and we will devote some attention to the important and changing relationship between TV and cinema in contemporary screen culture.


English Major Requirements
  • Sector 1 Theory and Poetics (AETP)
  • Sector 6 20th & 21st Centuries (AE20)
English Concentration Attributes
  • 20th-21st Century Concentration (AE21)
  • Theory & Cultural Studies Concentration (AETC)
College Attributes
  • Foundational Approach: Cross Cultural Analysis (AUCC)