English 166

Special Topics: British Cinema


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Fall 2009 Miller, D.A.
Miller, D.A.
MW 4-5:30 + films Tues. 6-9 P.M. in 300 Wheeler 300 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Critical readings will be available in a course reader.

Description

François Truffaut once observed “a certain incompatibility between the terms ‘Britain’ and ‘cinema.’” Certainly, in its main traditions, this cinema exhibits a defining tendency to resist its status as cinema, whether by downplaying cinematic specificity in the guise of a literary classic, by hiding cinematic artifice beneath the mask of social realism, or by compensating for cinematic mechanicalness with a vitalizing emphasis on character. In exemplifying these strategies of resistance, we will be interrogating what it is about cinema—and about British culture—that seems to call for them. Remembering, however, that Truffaut made the above observation to a Britisher whose work he regarded as virtually definitive of cinema—namely, Alfred Hitchcock—we will also attend largely to the counter-tradition of cinematic self-consciousness established by Hitchcock and Michael Powell.

Films to be studied may include: Brief Encounter, Oliver Twist, Henry V, Kind Hearts and Coronets, The Lodger, Sabotage. Frenzy, Black Narcissus, Peeping Tom, Room at the Top, This Sporting Life, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Victim, Darling, Hard Day’s Night, If…, Remains of the Day, Trainspotting.

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