Contemporary romantic comedy and the discourse of independence
in The secret life of romantic comedy
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The overwhelming majority of the examples mentioned in theorisations of contemporary romantic comedy are not only generically more or less 'pure' but also commercial films. However, there has also been life for the genre outside the mainstream. This chapter argues that the variety of narrative and ideological approaches to intimate matters articulated by the genre of romantic comedy in recent years may be, at least in part, attributed to the growing impact of independent cinema on the mainstream and the subsequent all-but-complete absorption of the former by the latter. It suggests some of the possible directions that the genre's secret life might take in the twenty-first century. Before Sunset makes abundant use of the genre's conventions but has not been primarily seen as a romantic comedy, probably because of its allegiance to the aesthetic forms and conventions of independent cinema.

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