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British Cinema Final: Narrative and Genre

Key Concepts:

Terms in this set (45)

Houses
- involve questions of place and typical national settings (e.g. italian villa, american ranch)
- places of domesticity (homes) and thus often family existence (celebrated or threatened)

Country Houses:
- signs of geographic location (usually outside city, thus involve journeys to and fro, like belle going between the city to escape london season)
- signs of Control of the Natural environment (extensive estates, specialized landscaping and planting, the rearing and destruction of game)

- also known as 'stately homes,' places of significant size, may act as containers for multiple dramas
- often repository of great riches (in decor), often the great sponsors of such arts (theaters of social interaction, show off culture and art)

- Social conflict may be staged between social classes (upstairs/downstairs) (insiders/outsiders)
- creations of bygone era of wealth and privilege (so questions of how to achieve historical realism and how to avoid nostalgia in creating images of british heritage)

House almost play a character throughout


Country House Drama Examples on TV & Popular Cinema
British Soap opera: Coronation Street & Eastenders

British Classic TV Drama: Downton Abbey

Popular Cinema: HP Hogwarts, Skyfall in Skyfall

Country House & High Society: The Queen, Mrs. Brown, Victoria & Abdul
- Sandringham, Norfolk (queens house for christmas, relevence to mindset of UK)
- Cliveden, Kershite
- Castle Howard, Yorkshire
- Kenwood House, London

The Literary Tradition: Jane Austen (Mansfield Park, Pride and PRedjudice, Sense and Sensibility)

Hybridities: such as Greenaway (modernist, postmodernist), lady chatterley (romance country drama),
ATONEMENT (country house, romance, war film, coming of age/resolution forgiveness quest)
Social Realist
Social Thematic: Film critiquing the 'capitalist reality' that has dictated contemporary society. Demonstrates links between a 'drive for limitless capital accumulation and the various features of contemporary culture which worry people' (Paul Dave)
Loach's Politics

Roots:
1960s-mid1990s: Involvement in Labour Party
Coming of age in 60s era of radical social change
Reflected in choice of everyday, hard working, mid-to-lower working class characters, real settings entrenched in structures of oppression, narrative arcs highlight these issues

Realism:
On location setting
Authentic Props
Naturalistic Acting
Thematic Concerns: Personal connecting to the Political
Goal: Realism to comment on and reflect social issues in culture
Tragic Endings
Comedy hidden within/levity next to (contrast)
Tonal shifting - coexistence of tragedy and comedy

Methods
Fragmentary Scripts (only giving actors fragments of script)
Sequential Shooting
Freer Camera Set-ups
Far Framing
Long take
Avoidance of eye contact with actors on sets, marks, the monitor, and rushes.
Commitment to Realism/Authenticity
Reverence/Upholding of Actor's Craft
Shooting in Service of Actors - make method choices not maintained on commercial film set (but his authorial signature)
Consistent Collaborators
Paul Laverty (Script-Writer)

Ken Loach Films:
Cathy Come Home (1966)
TV Movie

The Wind That Shakes the Barley
Historical drama (begins Irish War of Independence, goes through the Irish Civil War)
Evolving Relationship of 2 Irish brothers: Damien and Teddy O'Donovan (familial tragedy this national conflict leads them to)
Concentrate on the armed struggle, led by the IRA (but wider political campaign led by Sinn Fein)
Sympathetic portrayals of the Irish Republican Army (especially in their original intentions and wish for independence - reveal socialist thematic undertones - when they are Sinn Fein/IRA)
Final scene: Death of Damien by Teddy: narrative climax/device constructs the fictional personal to shape understanding of real historical, reframing the war as a social revolution rather than a nationalistic revolution

I, Daniel Blake (2016)
Present-day British Welfare State
Update Cathy Come Home (1966) as similar story of mother
Socialist Political Narrative: Struggle Tragedy
Set Newcastle, failing structures in place by Britain's welfare system
Present nonsensical Catch-22 structures of Engalnd's welfare system (highlighting the decayed state it is in today)
Critical of Welfare State's perceived neglect/diminuation by various administrations (not explicit in I Daniel Blake which ones) and its bureaucratiation (FOCUS of film)
Daniel Blake: 59 year old, struggle to navigate welfare system to receive benefits while recovering from heart attack
(befriends) Katie: single mom, relocate from London to Newcastle with two young children because welfare housing assignment
Stories move from their personal to national (support everyday people, social "citizen" as the correct instigator and victim of political change")
Tragic ending (promote negative view of political structures/outcomes) - support political leanings, convey message of action and need to change