All 7 entries tagged A Level Film Studies

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December 21, 2006

The Heritage Film in British Cinema Part 1

The British Heritage Film: Part 1

Thompson and Hopkins Howard


It is argued by several leading critics that the idea of the ‘heritage film’ has been identified by critics themselves and that the tendency to create and market these films targets and reinforces a from of right-wing nostalgia. It does this by creating a mythical past using very select and romanticised mise en scene of costume, architecture and transport for example. Thus these films function as an escape from the political and social issues of the present

What is meant by ‘Heritage Film and Heritage?

Rickman and Winslett in Sense and Sensibility

The 1980s saw the growth of a cultural phenomenon which has often been described as the heritage industry. The description can be applied to a range of creative and cultural industries which provide a powerful link between tourism, the past and the film and television industries. Here Andrew Higson who did much to develop this as a critical category in relation to British cinema explains how he and others identified this shift in cultural consciousness as they saw it.

The past is differentiated from history which as a discipline has a range of methods attached to an academic discipline based upon the priciple of gathering evidence of events, opinions etc from a previous period. The past is understood as a more mythological construction which is much more culturally subjective.

The English costume dramas of the last two decades seem from one point of view a vital part of this industry. For this reason, I and others have labelled them heritage films, though that is not a term that their producers or indeed many of their audiences would be familiar with or even approve of… (Higson, 2003 : p1).

As will be seen below the genre of the ‘heritage film’ has provided Britain with some of its greatest commercial successes of the 1990s as well as the 1980s. This is now being repeated in the new millennium. Some have dismissed these films as very conservative. They can certainly be viewed as extremely nostalgic and very selective in their presentation of the past. But they could be viewed in a more complex way.

2005 Version of Pride and Prejudice dir Joe Wright

It is argued by some critics that the cinematic treatment which was given to the books they are named after was far less critical of the status quo than the original books were. Here it is possible to point to the novels of E. M. Forster which were far more attuned to the social tensions that were arising in Edwardian Britain than the filmic treatment.

Certainly Edwardian Britain wasn’t as rosy as some would like to paint it. Britain’s place in the world was being challenged industrially by both Germany and the USA. In terms of foreign policy even during the Boer war taking place at the beginning of the century Germany had been supportive of the Boer rebels. Tensions continued to build up with the ‘Anglo-German Naval race’ which started in earnest after 1907.

Anglo_German Naval Race

On the home front the Liberal government was faced with a serious constitutional crisis over the passing of Lloyd George’s famous budget. The rise of suffragism part of far greater social movement for votes for women and an ever increasing polarisation in Ireland between nationalists and unionists were all significant political and social features of the period which is better seen as one of transition with all the uncertainties which that term implies. Certainly it was not all halcyon days.

Alternative takes on Heritage

Stuart Hall has made a useful analysis of the notion of ‘heritage’ arguing that it functions to exclude social and cultural issues of the present by creating mythical visions of the past.

Empire Windrush

As a country, since World War Two Britain has undergone a significant re-composition of its population. Huge demographic changes were brought about by the massive growth of immigration fuelled by the long post-war industrial boom which saw Britain create a period of full employment and better working and social conditions under a welfare state.

Empire Windrush Passengers disembarking UK

Hall agrees that the Heritage film is a form of construction by the critical community which has spread much further than the corridors of the academic world.

It has come to signal not just a particular group, or cluster of interrelated groups, of films, but a particular attitude to those films, and indeed to the audiences presumed to frequent them. Heritage cinema is very largely a critical construct but its currency in academic debates …has subsequently been extended into journalistic and even popular usage. (My emphasis: Hall, Sheldon. 2001: p 191)

Howard’s End: The first of the 1990s heritage films

Poster of Howard

Some of the critiques depend upon whether a narrow or a wide definition of heritage is used. Merchant-Ivory produced and directed Howard’s End (1991) was the first ‘heritage film’ of the decade. The treatment of Forster’s original text relies on a country house aesthetic with the camera feasting upon the haute bourgeois interiors. This palpable pleasure in parading the visual splendour of the past undermines the social criticism of Forster’s novel. argues Gibson (2000: 116). Looking at some of the romanticised images Gibson certainly has a point.

Higson (2003) in his case study on Howard’s End also expresses a concern that this film is a particularly good example of films which choose a deliberately liberal canonical text upholding in a reasonable ‘authentic’ way the liberal notions expressed within the book. Nevertheless director and producer undermine that liberalism by constructing a stylistic mode which, by focusing on the mise en scene, allows a conservative sensibility to become prioritised.

It is important to bear in mind Stuart Hall’s comments cited above. Although the texts can be read by critics as a reactionary construction of British heritage in fact the arguments are not based upon actual audience research. It is not unreasonable to assume in the tradition of deconstruction which argues that meaning of a text is not fixed that the American audiences for Howard’s End made very different readings of the film. It should not be forgotten that many of the English viewers of the film were far more likely than American audiences to have some familiarity with the British history of the period. Much deeper social and political readings of the off-screen concerns of the film by members of the audience were very likely.

Helena Bonham Carter in Howard

Criticism without audience analysis: How useful is it?

The above points highlight the weakness of constructing criticism of texts with having a research relationship. Higson and other critics were making a critical ‘leap of faith’ by creating their perfectly reasonable interpretations based upon the prevalence of the right-wing mood of the nation at the time. The film of Howard’s End was made at the end of the Thatcher period. However there is no clear evidence how British audiences understood and experienced this film; what Hall described as attitude towards these films.

Hall however does make an important point about the lack of representation of many features of contemporary British society which is a part of the country’s heritage in the fullest sense of the term. Hall here was discussing the lack of representation of Afro-Caribbeans and the contribution of the Slave trade in all manner of ways to Britain today. This is a part of British ‘heritage’ which demands ‘recognition’. In this sense much of the heritage industry is very isolated from social and cultural reality.


The doyen of English Heritage was enaged enough to represent an evil episode in British history. Follow this link for Simon Schama on the historical episode being represented. When will British cinema can stop making romanticist cinema for an American market which appears to view Britain as quaint and face up to the bad bits of history as well as the proud bits. Turner was more honest about 150 years ago it seems. Art isn’t just ‘beautiful’!


Channel 4 Review

Link to official site with a trailer available

Link here for the Guardian review by Derek Malcolm

December 12, 2006

Using the Sidebar

Introduction to using the sidebar

As the sidebar is now very busy it might be helpful for you to have an idea of the lay out until you are familiar with it. also many of you may only have an interest in certain parts.

Section 1

  • Calendar – Self expalanatory
  • Radio 3 Link – This will get you into BBC Radio Player. I like catching up with things like Mixing it and Late Junction
  • Search this blog – self explantory
  • TagsVERY IMPORTANT: Just click on one and it will aggregate all tagged articles with this tag. The tags are the best way to navigate around the articles and call up ones written early on. Please drop a comment in the relevant box if you think a tag needs adding anywhere.
  • Latest Comments – this allows myslf and others to monitor comments and discussions quickly
  • Most Recent Entries – Self explanatory

Section 2: European Cinema

The next section from the BFI film Glossary goes through a range of:
  • Image galleries which are always being developed
  • Podcasts
  • Feeds
  • Useful links
  • There are also 2 links to good film message boards

There are various levels of knowledge required for different entries however it is the intention to aim for a broader readership encouraging those of a more theoretical bent to follow up with various films books and websites. Many of the links are to sophisticated articles that are available on line. If you find them hard don’t worry we all did once. Stick with what you are comfortable with. There is something for everybody here from A level to postgrad.

The entries on British cinema shouold be helpful for OCR A Level Students doing British cinema post 1990. It is also likely to help AS Film Studies students. The work on German Cinema and French and Italian cinema as it gets transferred onto the blog will help A2 Film Studies students doing FS 5.

Section 3: New Media Technologies

This subject is endlessly fascinating and there is little doubt as Web 2 progresses with developments such as the Second Life phenomenon will start to deeply change our social ontology or beingness in the world partially constructed through media.

This selection of feeds and stories even includes the news organisation Reuters who conduct virtual interviews with important people in Second Life. making ‘Virtually Real News!’ This is an important resource area for all OCR AS Media Studies students doing the ‘Audiences and Institutions’ New Media option.

Section 4: News Feeds and Podcasts

This is both a service to visitors providing up to date news as it breaks while you are onsite. It is of particular use to OCR A2 students doing the News option as it affords easy chances to compare the news strategies of different news organisations and functions as a practical case study of how news is being distributed in a Web 2 era.

Section 5:

this features what I consider as good quality blogs linked to the categories above. There is a folder of New Media based blogs and also one for European Cinema or Blogs which have a very high content of European cinema.

Methods for choosing links

There are many many websites and blogs etc on the above subjects. A key objective of this site is to try and filter out weakly researched and written sites. There is a premium on quality and there is a life beyond IMDB. Life is too short to keep filtering out spam. If you find that any sites you have visited from embedded links on this site please leave a comment. The site in question will be reviewed.

December 11, 2006

British Cinema: Films of 2006


I have to confess I haven’t seen too many British films brought out in 2006. This is due to two main reasons. Firstly I like to get the DVDs and I like to wait until the premium price has come off it. This is usually a reasonably swift but I don’t have that urge to see the latest as soon as it hits the screens (that is if the distributors and exhibitors allow it to).

However I’m teaching some British cinema post 1990 and clearly the OCR board is so fed up with getting essays on The Full Monty and Four Weddings and a Funeral they’ve had to send a reminder out to teacher’s that we are 6 years into the 21st century. Of there is a danger of losing a sense of history but that’s a strong tendency media studies which is best resisted.

Anyway 2006 turns out to have been quite a good year for British films many of which court controversy (thankfully). As I haven’t seen many yet this is a round up of reports and recommendations and hopefully pleasures to come.

British Films of 2006

The Wind That Shakes the Barley

Ken Loach on the Set of wind that Shakes the Barley

Well one film that made the headlines is Ken Loach’s The Wind That Shakes the Barley now out on DVD. As a winner of the Cannes Prix d’Or this comes as something of a surprise. Loach has forged his own vision of a socialistic social realist aesthetic often combining history and politics. I’m looking forward to this one as it deals with the very thorny issue of Britain’s relationship with Ireland and focuses upon the the period when the Black and Tans gained historical notoriety for their brutality. This period has lived in the Nationalist consciousnes ever since. Whatever its strengths and weaknesses getting a prize at Cannes isn’t going to earn Loach a Caribbean island (he wouldn’t want it anyway.) Sight & Sound December 2006 shows that it isn’t now on release and it made £3.88 million in the box office.

Shoot the Messenger Dir: Ngozi Onwurah

Shoot the Messenger 2006

I missed this one which was screened on BBC2 and is a BBC comissioned film. There is a report on it here.

As you can see from the negative response of some viewers they want representations of ethnic or other minorities to be sqeaky clean, ‘Sunday best’ kind of films. I remember this kind of argument emerging when Stephen Frears’ My Beautiful Laundrette came out in the 1980s. Looked at now it stands the test of time very effectively and its real strength is bringing out the contradictions in people’s identities and emotions which is what made that film a piece of art. The argument here is also reminiscent of the issues around Turtles can Fly (see Opinion 1 on this blog). The social reality is that identity by ‘ethnicity’ is leaky. People are more complicated than that! It is certainly a film I shall be trying to get hold of.

Click here for the Edinburgh film Festival report and a hyperlink to a video about the film.

London to Brighton. Dir: Paul Andrew Williams

London to Brighton 2006

This is a film that has made an impact well beyond its budget. Generically it turned into an unintentional gangster thriller (Sight and Sound Dec 2006, p 16). As such it is one to watch as it fits in well with the long-term genre for gangster movies in Britain which is analysed elswhere on this blog:

... where Williams could have opted for Guy Ritchie style crass humour he finds a more restrained and chillingly effective alternative. Its a film worthy of Mike Hodge at his best…

One of the key important points to make about this film is that the director Paul Andrew Williams found his own financier. (Look at the BBC video interview here to find out more). – You will need to click on the link and have Realplayer installed. He didn’t go straight to the UK film Council, although he did apply at a later a stage and was accepted by the UKFC. The Time Out review is here.

The Road to Guantanamo. Dir: Michael Winterbottom

The Road to Guantanamo

A full review of this film is under construction. The first part of this piece is already posted currently giving about one dozen linked reviews and links to trailers and extracts. suffice it to say here that the film did exceptionally well at the Berlin Film Festival. It is also notable that the film is so far unique by arranging to have near simultaneaous release on TV, DVD in the cinema and very imprtantly on the internet as a download. The advantage of this is that the attempts to control the distribution and multiplex by companies purely trying to profit from large US marketing budgets and the ‘Yoof Market’ are being circumvented. For more on the multiplex phenomenon see separate article on this blog.

The Queen (2006) dir Stephen Frears

Helen Mirren in The Queen 2006 by Stephen Frears

Link to Britfilms synopsis

Red Road (2006) dir Andrea Arnold

Red Road 2006 by Andrea Arnold

Link to Brtfilms synopsis

This is England (2006) dir Shane Meadows

This is England 2006 Shane Meadows

Link to Cineuropea review

December 10, 2006

British Cinema: The Irresistable Rise of the Multiplex


The development of the multiplex cinema has changed the face of film exhibition. Simultaneously multiplexes have contributed to the denuding of town centres of traditional entertainments, whilst contributing to the growth of cinema audiences. Prior to the development of the multiplex cinema audiences in Britain were at an all time low.

There is a seeming paradox that multiplexes offer more screens and fewer films. Below this phenomenon is explored in relation to the increasing domination of the global film industry by Hollywood. The problem of distribution and exhibition of British and /or other cinemas is also considered.

The First Multiplex

The first multiplex was built in a shopping mall in Kansas City in 1966. This happened at a time when the American film industry was suffering from the break-up of the big Hollywood vertically integrated companies. There were several reasons for this. Anti-monopoly legislation was introduced. This came at a time when TV had begun to steal audiences. Furthermore there was greater disposable income going into other leisure industries which were competing for the cinema audiences. By the 1980s the multiplex model dominated the American exhibition system and the time was ripe to open up new markets.

The Multiplex in Britain

The first British multiplex opened in Milton Keynes in 1985. It had ten screens seating over 2,000 people. It also had a restaurant, brasserie and social club. It was positioned to have a cachment area of approximately 1.5 million people within 45 minutes drive. This kind of metrics is important to decide where to site multiplexes.

There were 2 or more showings of individual films each evening and there would always be at least one U Rated film which helped to make the venue attractive for families. It was now possible for Adults to watch one film and children another.

The auditoriums were now designed with far better standards of comfort for the seating which is spacious and very relaxing. The screen can easily be seen from all the seats. Combined with the best screening technologies available the cinema could now offer a wide range of people a far better quality viewing experience.

The Milton Keynes Multiplex

The cramped, knackered seats, bad sight-lines, poor sound and small screens with poor facilities especially parking consigned the local independent cinema to history in most major cities over a ten year period.

Inside the Milton Keynes Multiplex

Much of the multiplex boom was linked in with the massive growth of the consumption led lifestyle economy usually concentrated upon out-of town shopping centres. These usually had free parking and often good rail connections.

The British Multiplex in the 1990s

Northampton Multiplex Cinema

The construction of larger multiplexes of over 8 screens was premised upon a catchment area of about half a million people living within a 20-25 minute drive away. Since 1991 there has been the development of the smaller multiplex 5-6 screens in smaller towns and cities such as Leamington-Spa, Lincoln and Kettering.

During the 1990s five companies dominated the multiplex market controlling about 88% of the screens. These are: Rank Odeon , National amusements / Showcase, UCI, Virgin, Warner Village. There is now a return to ‘brownfield’ sites with ‘megaplexes’ being constructed. There is a 31 screen megaplex being built on the Battersea power station site, and a 21 screen venue has been built in Bradford. The Star site in Birmingham has 30 screens and is part of a large shopping and restaurant complex. Technically in the inner city it has good proximity to the motorway and nearly 3,000 car parking spaces are available.

The multiplex can be seen as part of the ‘MacDonaldisation’ of society by providing a homogenised entertainments service. The buildings, unlike the Odeons of the 1930s, are frequently system-build and standardised. Carbuncles on the face of the British built environment, pure money generating machines. The labour systems are increasingly de-skilled as fewer, less skilled, projectionists can operate the largely computer based projection systems. The buildings are designed to create a through-flow of people so seats in the foyers are rarely provided. Membership of Trade Unions is discouraged for the workforce. (Hanson, 2000).

Less Choice Not More

David Lister has summed up the position in Britain with a strong degree of scepticism as he comments below:

Another Cannes staple is the lack of British films, an omission usually more than compensated for by a performance of a British government minister. The sun, sea and crowds tend to give our visiting ministers a sense of euphoria or perhaps just heatstroke. Labour’s Chris Smith once announced that he intended all British multiplexes always to show at least one British film. Guess what, it never happened.

The expansion of screen numbers has paradoxically seen fewer films being screened. Instead blockbusters are often being screened on several of the screens each night: ‘A small proportion of major Hollywood studio films receiveore a disproportionate amount of resources in terms of marketing and screen time.’ ( Hanson, 2000 : 55 ). Multiplexes often hold over successful films for extra weeks to maximise their profitability. As a result independent films rarely get a look in despite the promises that were made at the time the first multiplex opened in Britain that one independent film would always be available.

During 1997 of the 284 films exhibited in the UK 153 were American and 21 were US/UK joint productions. The distribution of most of the Hollywood films went through 5 major distributors: UIP, Buena Vista, Twentieth Century Fox, Columbia and Warner Brothers.

The rest of the distribution sector is comprised of small independent companies promoting most of the British, other European, and other overseas films. These films are finding it much harder to get screen time despite the fact that there are more screens.

Independent cinemas have been unable to compete with the multiplexes even when trying to show mainstream products. This is because unacceptable conditions are placed on the exhibitors, such as taking a certain number of products from a distributor. In any exhibitors have managed to make good profits and this section of British cinema continues to be successful. This is at the expense of British and other non-Hollywood coming to screens.

Here’s how it works. The lower the risk of the film not attracting big audiences the greater the per-centage cut of the takings the distributor takes. this automatically makes small budget films a big risk for exhibitors because the marketing budgets are so small. Remember hollywood blockbusters sometimes spend 50% – Yes, that is half of the budget! – on marketing. The marketing budget of a film like Titanic will be more than the cost of several British films added together.

Overall there is an illusion of diversity and consumer choice being promoted. Hansen (2000) rightly notes that the situation is ambivalent on the grounds that multiplexes replacing badly designed, uncomfortable cinemas or providing a service where none previously existed is the upside of this development. But this point needs to be developed further, surely neither situation is satisfactory. Multiplexes only serve the interests of large-scale commercial enterprises. Both planning issues and issues of cultural citizenship issue need to be addressed. cultural citizenship is the matter of rights of represntation of people. Arguably these rights are overridden by the greed of large companies.

Planning and Environmental Issues

Many contemporary urban planners are stressing the importance of ‘polycentric’ planning, that is the importance of developing local community ties as well as reducing the huge traffic flows on motorways which has been encouraged by the out-of-town development.

It isn’t just a British phenomena it is a worldwide one. Below is an image of the first multiplex in Vietnam:

First Multiplex in Vietnam

Locally available entertainments which are not reliant upon car usage and which can provide high quality viewing and be sensitive to the expressed needs of the local audience in terms of programming would be an extension of cultural citizenship in the face of rampant commercialism.

Here is a link to Friends of the Earth criticism of the multiplex

Where do we want cinema to go?

This ambivalence about cinema and its role in British culture is one which isn’t discussed enough. Do we want huge sheds primarily designed to part teenagers and people in their early twenties from their money whilst closing down alternative avenues? We can certainly say that what we have now is ‘popular culture’ in the sense that enough people go for the spectacle for the industry to exist. Should multiplexes be forced to take a certain amount of european Films? would this just lead to the creation of quota quickies. Is the problem worth worrying about?

It certainly seems to be the case that the multiplex system totally dominates British cinema and that it is geared up to showing Hollywood productions and maximising profits. Exhibition companies tend to do well out of this and in Britain we can’t complain too much as many technicians are employed in making Hollywood films. To some extent Hollywood films create a sort of global popular culture although the audiences that enjoy them may read them differently according to their own experiences.

Lots of room for dicussion here so please make use of the comments boxes. Ciao fo now :-)

Open Studies in European Cinema. Italian Cinema: Bibliography & Webliography

Bacon, Henry. 1998. Visconti: Explorations of Beauty and Decay. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Ben-Ghiat, Ruth. ‘The Facist War Trilogy’. Forgacs, David , Lutton, Sarah and Nowell-Smith Geoffrey.Eds. Roberto Rossellini: Magician of the Real . London: BFI

Bernadi, Sandro. 2000. ‘Rosselini’s Landscapes: Nature, Myth,History’. Forgacs, David , Lutton, Sarah and Nowell-Smith Geoffrey.Eds. Roberto Rossellini: Magician of the Real . London: BFI

Bertellini, Giorgio Ed. 2004. The Cinema of Italy. London: Wallflower Press

Bondanella, Peter. 2002. The Films of Federico Fellini. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-57573-7

Bondanella, Peter. 3rd edition. 2002. Italian Cinema: From Neorealism to the Present. New York and London: Continuum

Bondanella, Peter. ‘La Strada’. Bertellini, Giorgio. 2004. The Cinema of Italy. London: Wallflower Press

Brunette, Peter. ‘Deserto Rosso / Red Desert’. Bertellini, Giorgio. 2004. The Cinema of Italy. London: Wallflower Press

Celli, Carlo. 2001(a). The Divine Comic: The Cinema of Roberto Begnini. Lanham: Scarecrow Press

Celli , Carlo. ‘Ladri di Biciclette / The Bicycle Thieves’. Bertellini, Giorgio Ed. 2004. The Cinema of Italy. London: Wallflower Press

Carlo Celli and Marga Cottino-Jones. 2007. A New Guide to Italian Cinema. Palgrave Macmillan

Clark, Martin. 1984. Modern Italy 1871-1982. London: Longman

Curle, H & Snyder eds. (2000). Vittorio De Sica: Contemporary Perspectives

Forgacs, David. 2000. ‘Introduction: Rossellini and the Critics’. Forgacs, David , Lutton, Sarah and Nowell-Smith Geoffrey.Eds. Roberto Rossellini: Magician of the Real . London: BFI

Forgacs, David , Lutton, Sarah and Nowell-Smith Geoffrey.Eds. 2000. Roberto Rossellini: Magician of the Real. London: BFI

Gallhaer, Tag. 1998. The Adventures of Roberto Rossellini. New York: Da Capo Press

Hipkins Danielle. 'Francesca's Salvation or Damnation? Resisting recognition of the prostitute in Rossellini's Paisà (1946)', Studies in European Cinema, 3.2 (2006), 153-69.

Hipkins Danielle. "I don't want to die": Prostitution and Narrative Disruption in Visconti's Rocco and His Brothers', in Women in Italy 1946-1960, ed. by Penny Morris (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), pp. 193-210

Hudson, Anne. ‘Rocco E I Suoi Fratelli / Rocco and His Brothers. Bertellini, Giorgio. 2004. The Cinema of Italy. London: Wallflower Press

Indiana, Gary. 2000. Salo or The 120 Days of Sodom. London, BFI

Kemp, Philip. 2002. ‘The Son’s Room’. Sight and Sound. Vol 12 No 3 March p56

Kline, Jefferson T. ‘Il Conformista / The Conformist’. Bertellini, Giorgio Ed. 2004. The Cinema of Italy. London: Wallflower Press

Landy, Marcia. 2000. Italian Film. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Mancini, Elaine. 1985 Struggles of the Italian Film Industry during Fascism 1930-1935 Ann Arbor: UMI Press

Marcus, Millicent. 2002. After Fellini: National Cinema in the Postmodern Age. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press

Marcus, Millicent. 1993. Filmaking by the Book. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press

Marcus, Millicent. 1986. Italian Film in the Light of Neorealism. Princeton: Princeton University Press

Mazierska, Ewa & Rascaroli, Laura. 2004. The Cinema of Nanni Moretti. London: Wallflower Press

Morandini, Morando. 1997. ‘ Vittorio de Sica’ . Nowell-Smith Geoffrey Ed : Oxford History of World Cinema. Oxford : Oxford University Press.

Morandini, Morando. 1997. ‘Italy from Fascism to Neo-Realism’. Nowell-Smith Geoffrey Ed : Oxford History of World Cinema. Oxford : Oxford University Press.

Muscio, Giuliana. ‘Paisa / Paisan’. Bertellini, Giorgio Ed. 2004. The Cinema of Italy. London: Wallflower Press

Nowell-Smith, Geoffrey. 2003 3rd edition. Luchino Visconti. London: British Film Institute

Nowell-Smith, Geoffrey. 2000. ‘North and South, East and West’: Rossellini and Politics. Forgacs, David , Lutton, Sarah and Nowell-Smith Geoffrey.Eds. Roberto Rossellini: Magician of the Real . London: BFI

Nowell-Smith, Geoffrey. ‘Salvatore Giuliano’. Bertellini, Giorgio Ed. 2004. The Cinema of Italy. London: Wallflower Press

Rascaroli, Laura. ‘Dear Diary’. Bertellini, Giorgio Ed. 2004. The Cinema of Italy. London: Wallflower Press

Reich, Jaqueline. ‘Otto e Mezzo / 8 ½ ‘. Bertellini, Giorgio Ed. 2004. The Cinema of Italy. London: Wallflower Press

Reich, Jaqueline.2002. Re-viewing Fascism: Italian Cinema, 1922-1943. Bloomington: Indiana University Press  

Restivo, A. 2002. The Cinema of Economic Miracles: Visuality and Modernisation in the Italian Art Film. Durham and London: Duke University Press

Rhodes, John David Cinema Italia: Classic Italian Film Posters (review) Modernism/modernity - Volume 11, Number 2, April 2004, pp. 365-367

Rohdie, Sam. 1990. Antonioni. London: British Film Institute

Rohdie, Sam. 2002. Fellini Lexicon. London: BFI

Rohdie, Sam. 2000. ‘India’ Forgacs, David , Lutton, Sarah and Nowell-Smith Geoffrey.Eds. Roberto Rossellini: Magician of the Real. London: BFI

Rohdie, Sam. Rocco and his Brothers. London: BFI

Rossellini, Roberto. The War Trilogy. Open City. Paisan. Germany-Year Zero. Edited and with an Introduction By Stefano Roncoroni. Translated from the Italian By Judith Green. NY: Grossman, 1973.

Sitney, P. Adams. 1995. Vital Crises in Italian Cinema. Austin: University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-77688-8

Shiel, Mark. 2006. Italian Neo Realism: Rebuilding the Cinematic City. London: Wallflower Press 

Sorlin, Pierre. 1996. Italian National Cinema. London: Routledge

Testa, C. 2002. Italian Cinema and Modern European Literatures, 1945-2000. Westport: Praeger

Testa. C. 2002. Master of Two Arts: Re-creation of European Literatures in Italian Cinema. Toronto: University of Toronto Press

Usai, Poalo, Cherchi. 1997. ‘ Italy: Spectacle and Melodrama’. Nowell-Smith Geoffrey Ed : Oxford History of World Cinema. Oxford : Oxford University Press.

Vitti, A. 1996. Giusseppe De Santis and Postwar Italian Cinema. Toronto: University of Toronto Press

Wagstaff, Christopher. 2000. ‘Rossellini and Neo-Realism’. Forgacs, David , Lutton, Sarah and Nowell-Smith Geoffrey.Eds. Roberto Rossellini: Magician of the Real . London: BFI

Wood, Mary. 2002. ‘ Bernado Bertolucci in context’: Tasker Yvonne: Fifty Contemporary Filmmakers . London : Routledge

Wood, Mary. 2006. ‘From Bust to Boom: Women and Representations of Prosperity in Italian Popular Cinema, 1946-1960’ in Penny Morris (ed): Women in Italy 1946-1960, (Palgrave, 2006)

Wood, Mary. 2004. ‘Pink Neorealism’ and the Rehearsal of Gender Roles in Italy, 1946-1955’ in Phil Powrie, Ann Davies & Bruce Babington (eds): The Trouble with Men: Masculinities in European and Hollywood Cinema, (Wallflower Press 2004).

Wood, Mary. 2007.  ‘Rosi’s Il caso Mattei: Making the Case for Conspiracy’ in Stephen Gundle & Lucia Rinaldi (eds): Assassination and Murder in Twentieth-Century Italy (Palgrave, 2007).

Wood, Mary. 2007. The Dark Side of the Mediterranean: Italian Noir’ in Andrew Spicer (ed): European Film Noir (Manchester University Press), 2007. 

Wood, Mary. 2000. ‘Woman of Rome: Anna Magnani’ in Ulrike Sieglohr (ed): Heroines Without Heroes: Female Identities in Post-War European Cinema 1945-1951, (Cassell, 2000)

Wood, Michael. 2003. ‘Death becomes Visconti’. Sight and Sound , May 2003 Volume 13 Issue 5 , pp 24-27

Wyke, M. 1997. Projecting the Past: Ancient Rome, Cinema and History. New York: Routledge


A Journey through Italian Cinema by Alberto Pezotta on Senses of Cinema site.

Italian Studies Cinema section from the Western European Studies University of Illinois

A site on Roberto Rossellini from University of Pennsylvania by Karen Arnone. There is a bibliography however the entries don't appear to fully referenced. Nonetheless it seems useful with the proviso of being careful about its full academic credentials

A very fine bibliography and resources held by the University of California  at Berkley

A useful bibliography of Italian Cinema at Toronto University  

Michelangelo Antonioni Online Archive

Traumatic Encounters in Italian Film:Locating the Cinematic Unconscious by Fabio Vighi. A review by Luana Ciavola from Senses of Cinema site.

Interview with Marco Bellocchio

Twitch article on Bellocchio's Fists in the Pocket

Walkthrough to Italian Cinema. you will need flashplayer for this series of extracts from the University of Toronto 

A useful review of Landy, Marcia. 2000. Italian Film. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press by John Foot

UK Film courses on Italian Cinema 

University of Warwick: Italian with Film Studies

University of Leicester "Postwar Italian Cinema

University of Sussex. Cinema and Nation: Italian Cinema 

Open Studies in European Cinema. Genre: Bibliography


This bibliography comes from my short book Repetition or Revelation: Film, Genre and Society – A Critical Introduction. The book’s target audience is A2 Media Studies and Film Studies, Open Studies students and first year undergraduates. Several sections of the book are being edited for this blog.


Adorno, Theodor. 1994. The Stars Down to Earth. London: Routledge

Altman, Rick. 1997 ‘Cinema and Genre’. In Nowell – Smith, Geoffrey. Ed : Oxford History of World Cinema. Oxford : Oxford University Press

Ang, Ien. 1991. Desperately Seeking The Audience. London: Routledge

Austen, Guy. 1996. Contemporary French Cinema. Manchester: Manchester University Press

Bordwell, David. Staiger, Janet and Thompson, Kristin. (1985 ) The Classical Hollywood Cinema. London: Routledge

Branston, Gill. 2000. Cinema and Cultural Modernity. Milton Keynes : Open University Press

Brown, Geoff. 2000. ‘Something for Everyone: British film Culture in the 1990s’. Murphy, Robert. Ed. British Cinema of the 90s. London: BFI

Bukatman, Scott. 1994. Terminal Identity. Durham North Carolina: Duke University Press

Cowie, Elizabeth. 1993 . ‘Film Noir and Women’. In Copjec Joan Ed : 1993 : Shades of Noir . London: Verso

Cook, Pam Ed. 1985 (First edition). The Cinema Book . London: British Film Institute

Corrigan, Timothy.1991. A Cinema Without Walls: Movies and Culture after Vietnam. New Brunswick NJ: Rutgers University Press

Christie, Ian. 2003. Interview with Martin Scorsese. Sight and Sound. January. p22

Elsaesser, Thomas. 1997. ‘Germany the Weimar Years’ in Nowell-Smith, Geoffrey. Ed: Oxford History of World Cinema. Oxford : Oxford University Press

Felski, Rita. 1999-2000. ‘ The Invention of Everyday Life’. New Formations, No 39, pp. 15-31

Hake , Sabine. 2002. German National Cinema. London : Routledge

Hanson, Stuart. 2000. ‘ Spoilt for Choice? Multiplexes in the1990s. Murphy, Robert. Ed. British Cinema of the 90s. London: BFI

Higson, Andrew and Maltby, Richard. 1999. ‘Film Europe’ and ‘Film America’ : An Introduction’. In Higson, Andrew and Maltby Richard.‘Film Europe’ and ‘Film America’. Exeter: Exeter University Press

Hofman, Katja. 2002. Does my gun look big in this? Sight and Sound March

Katz, Ephraim. 2001 4th Ed . Macmillan International Film Encyclopedia. Basingstoke : Macmillan

Mark Le Fanu. 2003. The dream life of architects. Sight and Sound March

Luckett, Moya. 2000. ‘Image and Nation in 1990s British Cinema’. In Murphy, Robert. British Cinema in the 90s. London: British Film Institute

McNab, Geoffrey. 2002. Review of Charlotte Gray. Sight and Sound . March. p 41.

Moretti, Franco. 2001. Planet Hollywood. New Left Review, Volume 2 No 9 May / June. pp 90-101

Neale, Steve. 2000. Genre and Hollywood. London: Routledge

Neale, Steve and Krutnik Frank : 1990 : Popular Film and Television Comedy: Routledge : London

Nichols, Bill . 1976. ‘Introduction’. In Nichols Bill Ed: Movies and Methods . California University Press : Berkley

Nichols, Bill. 1985. ‘Introduction’. In Nichols Bill Ed : Movies and Methods: Volume Two . California University Press : Berkley

Nowell – Smith, Geoffrey. Ed: 1997 : Oxford History of World Cinema. Oxford : Oxford University Press

Pendakur, Manjunath and Subramanyam, Radha. 2002. ‘Indian Cinema Beyond National Borders’. In Jordan, Tim and Pile, Steve eds. 2002. Social Change. Oxford: Blackwell

Prawer, S.S. 2002. The Blue Angel. London: BFI

Silverstone, R. 1994. Television and Everyday Life. London: Routledge

Smith, Murray. 2002. Trainspotting. London. British Film Institute.

Sobchack, Vivian. 1997. ‘The Fantastic’. In Nowell – Smith, Geoffrey. Ed : Oxford History of World Cinema. Oxford : Oxford University Press

Street, Sarah. 1997. British National Cinema. London : Routledge

Sturken, Marita. 2000. Thelma and Louise. London: British Film Institute

Tasker, Yvonne. ‘Authorship and contemporary film culture’. Tasker, Yvonne. Fifty Contemporary Filmmakers . Routledge : London

Todd, Peter. 2000. ‘The British Film Industry in the 1990s’. Murphy, Robert. Ed. British Cinema of the 90s. London: BFI

Tudor, Andrew. 1976. ‘Genre and Critical Methodology’. Nichols Bill Ed: Movies and Methods . California University Press : Berkley

Williams, Alan. 1992. Republic of Images: A History of French Film-making. Cambridge Mass: Harvard

December 08, 2006

The British Cinema Research Programme

Researching British Cinema


Whether you are doing a sixth form project, undergraduate dissertation or engaged in postgraduate work on British cinema there is likely to be something useful in this for you. You may be trying to find articles, supervisors, ideas for research projects. This is likely to be a very dynamic page. Please leave comments in the comments box providing URLs to interesting courses, conferences and pages concerning British cinema. Please enjoy :-).

Interesting Websites and pages on British Cinema

The Best 100 British Films?

Ethnicity & Representation

Asian-British Cinema

British-Chinese Cinema

British Studios

BBC page on Ealing Studios

More on Ealing from Wicked Lady

Journal of British Cinema and TV

Profile of Andrew Spicer

BBC/Open2Net Nation on Film

Intute film pages

Grierson in South Africa from Screening the Past

A Web-based bibliography of British Cinema

Regular Film Festivals

Broadway Nottingham on British Silent Cinema

Good Media Sites

BBC Film-Network Home Page


Examples of Sixth Form Media Practices

OCR A Level Media for British Cinema: from Longroad 6th Form College

Northallerton College

University Level Courses

British Cinema History 1930-1995
(Masters Level)

Film and Television History

(Third Year undergraduate course)

Cinema and Nation: British Cinema
. A second year unit @ Sussex University

Contemporary British Cinema . A third level course from Sussex

MA in British Cinema @ Hull University

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