Nigel Mather
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Racial discourses, ethnicity, and the ‘comic mode’ in contemporary British cinema
in Tears of laughter
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This chapter examines a particular group of British films produced during the 1990s which sought to explore issues of national, cultural and ethnic identity in the form of narratives combining comic and dramatic plot developments, incidents and perspectives. Such films as Leon the Pig Farmer, Wild West, Bhaji on the Beach, Secrets & Lies, My Son the Fanatic, and East is East constituted a vital and innovative sub-genre within 1990s British film culture. The chapter shows how these particular 1990s films attempt to explore themes of social, cultural and ethnic identity by drawing upon a range of comic forms, styles and approaches. It considers the legacy of certain British comic treatments of race relations and ethnic representations in film and television, as established in 1960s and 1970s. The chapter discusses the movement which took place in the 1980s from situation-comedy-type treatments of such themes towards a more serious drama-oriented approach.

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Tears of laughter

Comedy-drama in 1990s British cinema


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