Sarah Street: British National Cinema
Publisher: Routledge (2nd ed. 2008)
With films as diverse as Bhaji on the Beach, The Dam Busters, Trainspotting, The Draughtsman’s Contract, Prick Up Your Ears, Ratcatcher, This Is England and Atonement, British cinema has produced wide-ranging notions of British culture, identity and nationhood. British National Cinema is a comprehensive introduction to the British film industry within an economic, political and social context.
British National Cinema analyzes the politics of film and establishes the difficult context within which British producers and directors have worked. Sarah Street questions why British film-making, production and distribution have always been subject to government apathy and financial stringency. In a comparison of Britain and Hollywood, the author asks to what extent was there a ‘star system’ in Britain and what was its real historical and social function. An examination of genres associated with British film, such as Ealing comedies, Hammer horror, ‘heritage’ films and hybrid forms, confirms the eclectic nature of British cinema. In a final evaluation of British film, she examines the existence of ‘other cinemas’: film-making which challenges the traditional concept of cinema and operates outside mainstream structures in order to deconstruct and replace classical styles and conventions.
Illustrated with over thirty stills from classic British films, British National Cinema provides an accessible and comprehensive exploration of the fascinating development of British cinema.