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Social Realism : a British art cinema.

Forrest, David (2009) Social Realism : a British art cinema. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

Since the 1930s, realist cinema has maintained a consistent but ever-diversifying presence within the heart of British film culture. The broad term of social realism has come to represent numerous examples of films that reflect a range of social environments and issues, in a manner that rejects the artifice and escapism of more classically-oriented narrative models. Yet, there has been a tendency to view such films in the context of what they have to tell us about the issues and themes they invoke, rather than what they say about their art. When we think of the New Wave in France, or Neo-Realism in Italy we think of film movements which reflected their subjects with veracity and conviction, but we also see their products as cultural entities which encourage interpretation on the terms of their authorship, and which demand readings on the basis of their form. We are invited to read the films as we would approach a poem or a painting, as artefacts of social and artistic worth. Despite the continued prevalence of social realism in British cinema, there is no comparable compulsion in our own critical culture. This study seeks to address this imbalance. Beginning with the documentary movement of the 1930s and the realist cinema of wartime, I chart the history and progression of social realism in Britain, covering a wide range of directors such as Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, Alan Clarke and Shane Meadows and a number of film cycles, such as Free Cinema and the British New Wave. The key focus of my analysis lies on the aesthetic and formal constitution of the mode. I seek to highlight hitherto unrealised depths within the textual parameters of British social realism in order to propose its deserved status as a genuine and progressive national art cinema.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > School of English (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.522036
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2016 12:41
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2016 12:41
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/10351

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