Globalisation is often depicted as the enemy of ordinary citizens and the destroyer of cities. Global London on screen counters this narrative by exploring high points of cosmopolitan and multicultural worldliness on film, while not neglecting the more troubling migratory histories, exclusionist enclaves and criminal connections that often underpin them. Made by visiting filmmakers from all over the world, these films destabilise and confront conceptions of English or British London. They represent a wide variety of periods and genres, from the 1950s to the present day, and from noir and arthouse films to Hollywood blockbusters. Seldom has a group of London films been conceptualised to challenge universalist assumptions about London’s cultural status to outsiders. Steering clear of British localism, Global London on screen embraces the complexities of this nation and of the world’s most famous city.
Engineering the immigrant landscape of Emeric Pressburger’s Miracle in Soho
Jingan MacPherson Young
In this chapter Jingan MacPherson Young historicises the émigré director working in London’s Soho district. The chapter focuses on the film Miracle in Soho (Julian Amyes, 1957) written and co-produced by émigré filmmaker Emeric Pressburger. Miracle in Soho is a rare post-war British film which arranged the social, urban and cultural topography of London’s Soho through the depiction of the immigrant-as-cosmopolitan. Despite the film initially being a failure critically and at the box office, the topographical specificity that is found within Pressburger’s script suggests a fundamental and instinctive understanding of the urban arrangement of Soho’s commercial economies. The chapter asserts that Miracle in Soho provides an underlying criticism for the disorganisation of urban life but through the prism of an isolated locality and its engagement with the city. Does the film’s representation of Soho merely function as a backcloth for staging the Hungarian Jewish filmmaker’s imaginary conceptualisation of a community where ‘Church’ is erected directly opposite ‘Pub’? By placing Miracle in Soho in the historical and social context of post-war Soho, which during this period attempted to rebrand its disreputable pre-war reputation, this chapter uncovers the ways Pressburger's outsider gaze on the metropolis moulded the film’s depiction of the cosmopolitan and commercial locus.
The fundamental wager of libidinal economy is that contemporary capitalism can be fruitfully engaged through the lens of desire or ‘libido’. This introductory chapter develops a preliminary account of the relations between libidinal economy and capitalism in three ways. First, it positions libidinal economy at the intersection of economic and psychological thought. Second, it relates the development of libidinal-economic thought to the historical development of capitalism. Third, it emphasises the role of libidinal dynamics in the social reproduction of contemporary capitalism.
Visitors, cosmopolitans and migratory cinematic visions of a superdiverse city
Keith B. Wagner
This introduction establishes art cinema as the key mode of filmmaking that is analysed in Global London on screen. Rather than cinema telegraphing a city’s domestic and dominant character, its larger-than-life-presence and stereotypical imagery, in this collection many of the films analysed counter this notion. Visitor filmmakers tend to make art cinema–styled films, recognised by their international aesthetic that provides a renewed sense of this global city. These cityscapes honed by filmmakers challenge precise geographical, ethnic and historio-cultural contexts. At their peak, creative worlds in London from 1990 to 2016 corresponded to a high period of media content produced in the capital. One consistent element associated with this boom was British genres, institutions and individuals going global, and this drew significant attention from others from around the world, fans who appreciated the customs, uniqueness and particularity of national specificity that London held as an admirable and fashionable multicultural city. London, therefore, means so very much and so very little to people everywhere, in and outside of the city’s limits. The one consistency regarding this idea of London as a global city is how much it summons a totality about its greatness, inconsequentiality and fallibility, often simultaneously, when it is named.
This review of Jubilee for Jimmy explores the various ways
Baldwin’s genius impacts our musical, dance, and literary culture. It was
an extravagant performance that had both thematic and chronological resonance,
approximating Baldwin’s influence. Most creative was the dance sequence
in which two men evoked dramatic moments of love and passion.
Often overlooked by James Baldwin criticism or addressed according to its unique
relationship to sex and gender, love plays a central role in the writer’s
oeuvre. This article, conceived as a contrapuntal reading between A
Dialogue (1972)—the transcript of a four-hour conversation
between James Baldwin and poet Nikki Giovanni in November 1971—and
If Beale Street Could Talk (1974), Baldwin’s fifth
novel, will shed light on Baldwin’s “poethics” of love in
the 1970s, after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination and the
author’s engagement with Black Power and feminism. This revision takes
its cues from intersectionality and extends them via Hortense Spillers’s
bold critique of Baldwin’s politics of intimacy, his writing style, and
the American family grammar. His vision of love as moral “energy”
not only anticipates what Denise Ferreira da Silva terms a “Black
Feminist Poethics,” but is also a potential “key” to end
“the racial nightmare” and “save the children,”
thereby becoming a poethics of love for the infancy of the world.
James Baldwin Review offers readers a reprint of a rare archival
find, an article from Emerge magazine, first published in
October of 1989, which ran with this abstract: “A magazine editor recalls
working with his literary hero and getting to know the surprisingly vulnerable,
charming, and often exasperating man behind the legend.”
Drawing on Heinz Kohut’s conception of narcissistic development, this chapter situates the phenomenon of defensive intransigence within contemporary economic life. The ‘avocado toast’ stereotype – in which millennials are poor because of one brunch too many – represents a disavowal of worsening intergenerational inequality that is symptomatic of the rage that occurs when sustained beliefs about oneself and one’s place in the world are threatened.
This chapter explores the effects of social hierarchies on identity formation, tracking the rise of neoliberalism in the USA through a dynamic of unconscious group formation and reaction in which categories of race and class are central. It argues that America’s long history of White anti-Blackness is in this way integral to the emergence and ongoing vitality of its more openly declared commitment to neoliberal capitalism.
Like much of his prose and nonfiction, Baldwin’s poetry follows his actual
and figurative movement between Europe and America against the backdrop of his
homeland’s constant refusal to work through its racist, imperialist, and
heterosexist legacies. The 2014 reissue of his two poetry collections,
Jimmy’s Blues (1983) and Gypsy
(1989), as Jimmy’s Blues and Other Poems urges us to
revisit Baldwin’s poetry as an expression of his ideas and sentiments
through a different lens: that of a blues poetics. In Baldwin’s poetry,
the blues provide an aesthetic and epistemic framework for his expression of a
radical internationalist politics of liberation.