Mike Leigh may well be Britain's greatest living film director; his worldview has permeated our national consciousness. This book gives detailed readings of the nine feature films he has made for the cinema, as well as an overview of his work for television. Written with the co-operation of Leigh himself, it challenges the critical privileging of realism in histories of British cinema, placing the emphasis instead on the importance of comedy and humour: of jokes and their functions; of laughter as a survival mechanism; and of characterisations and situations that disrupt our preconceptions of ‘realism’. Striving for the all-important quality of truth in everything he does, Leigh has consistently shown how ordinary lives are too complex to fit snugly into the conventions of narrative art. From the bittersweet observation of Life is Sweet or Secrets and Lies, to the blistering satire of Naked and the manifest compassion of Vera Drake, he has demonstrated a matchless ability to perceive life's funny side as well as its tragedies.
UN peacekeeping is a core pillar of the multilateral peace and security architecture and a multi-billion-dollar undertaking reshaping lives around the world. In spite of this, the engagement between the literatures on UN peacekeeping and International Relations theory has been a slow development. This has changed in recent years, and there is now a growing interest tin examining UN peacekeeping from various theoretical perspectives to yield insights about how international relations are changing and developing. The volume is the first comprehensive overview of multiple theoretical perspectives on UN peacekeeping. There are two main uses of this volume. First, this volume provides the reader with insights into different theoretical lenses and how they can be applied practically to understanding UN peacekeeping better. Second, through case studies in each chapter, the volume provides practical examples of how International Relations theories – such as realism, liberal institutionalism, rational choice institutionalism, sociological institutionalism, feminist institutionalism, constructivism, critical security studies, practice theory, and complexity theory – can be applied to a specific policy issue. Applying these theories enhances our understanding of why UN peacekeeping, as an international institution, has evolved in a particular direction and functions the way that it does. The insights generated in the volume can also help shed light on other international institutions as well as the broader issue of international co-operation.
This book offers an opportunity to reconsider the films of the British New Wave in the light of forty years of heated debate. By eschewing the usual tendency to view films such as A Kind of Loving and The Entertainer collectively and include them in broader debates about class, gender and ideology, it presents a new look at this famous cycle of British films. Refuting the long-standing view that films such as Billy Liar and Look Back in Anger are flawed and therefore indicative of an under-achieving national cinema, the book also challenges the widely held belief in the continued importance of the relationship between the British New Wave and questions of realism. Drawing upon existing sources and returning to unchallenged assumptions about British cinema, this book allows the reader to return to the films and consider them anew. In order to achieve this, the book also offers a practical demonstration of the activity of film interpretation. This is essential, because the usual tendency is to consider such a process unnecessary when it comes to writing about British films. The book demonstrates that close readings of films need not be reserved for films from other cinemas.
This book considers Marcel Carne's films within the broader social and political context. It reinvestigates Carné's highly contested position within French film history, and in particular how his films relate to major moments of French cinema such as poetic realism, the tradition of quality and the French new wave. The period from the late 1920s to the end of the 1930s was crucial in Marcel Carné's career: he entered the French film industry, made films now considered his masterpieces, and achieved significant box-office success. The book reflects on the main developments in his career, from his early work as a journalist, amateur filmmaker, and assistant director, to his production of his first feature films, Jenny and Drôle de drame. It also discusses his contributions to poetic realism at the end of the decade, Le Quai des brumes, Hôtel du Nord, and Le Jour se lève. The book also re-examines how Carné fitted into both popular and artistic French cinematic traditions, and his identity as a 'populist filmmaker', an area that has not received sufficient analysis. Redressing the neglect of Carné's postwar work, it highlights its value in bringing about greater understanding of Carné's cinema per se, but also its relationship with broader social, political and cinematic contexts. The book also focuses on charting the main developments that led towards the production of these films, and explains what was specific to Carné's own particular inflection of poetic realist cinema.
Georges Méliès is universally acknowledged to be an early film Pioneer. However,
his work has often been dismissed as simplistic, both narratively and
technically. This book primarily aims is to give an idea of the complexity and
the modernity of his work. It also aims to dispel a number of myths about
Méliès's contribution to film history. For a long time, Méliès's work
was cited as the foremost example of 'primitive mode of
representation'; films made before around 1906 were characterized by four
traits. These are 'autarky and unicity of each frame', or framing that
is selfcontained and unchanged throughout the scene; 'the noncentered
quality of the image', or the use of the edges of the frame as well as the
centre; 'consistent medium long-shot camera distance'; and the
'nonclosure' of the narrative. The book examines individual scenes of
some of his films using a model of structural analysis designed for narrative
films. It outlines the technical function of the major special effects, or
trues, used by Méliès. The book also considers Méliès's treatment of
the relationship between fantasy and realism, first by examining a selection of
films that explicitly thematize representation, and then by discussing several
of the actualités reconstituées. It examines the ways in which
Méliès's films blur the boundary between realism and illusion, by examining
first a selection of trick films. This examination is followed by several
actualités reconstituées or early docu-dramas, culminating in an extended
discussion of Méliès's most influential L'Affaire Dreyfus/The
In a pair of interviews during the 1970s, Karel Reisz himself acknowledged this clear line of continuity in his work, he always thought of himself as a cinematic auteur, but stressed that it was a continuity of neither British nor Czech sensibilities. Like many exiles and outsiders, Reisz was able to balance an emotional investment in his adoptive country with the ability to remain critically distanced enough to recognize and then de-familiarize the cultural tropes that make it tick. Given his lifelong affinity for outsiders and exiles, it is clear that Reisz's personal background is crucial to any understanding of his cinema, not only because of his own exile from Nazism and subsequent displacement into a foreign culture. Because of his graduation into film-making from the academic world of film criticism, a realm largely alien to many of the veterans of the British film industry. The book discusses the 'kitchen sink' realism of the Angry Young Men, the birth of the British New Wave, and the Gorilla war. Morgan is an important film in the Reisz canon, not only because it reinforced his continued move away from the last vestiges of social realism associated with the first British New Wave, but also because it was his first truly self-reflexive film. The book also discusses Momma Don't Allow, We Are the Lambeth, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Night Must Fall, The Gambler, Dog Soldiers/, Who'll Stop the Rain, The French Lieutenant's Woman, and Everybody.
The book aims to provide a balanced appraisal of Eric Rohmer's oeuvre in historical context. Although interpretation of individual films will not be its main objective, representative examples from the director's twenty-five features and fiction shorts will be presented throughout. The focus is on production history and reception in the mainstream French press. This key stylistic editing trait cannot be appreciated without reference to André Bazin's concept of ontological realism, of which Rohmer was a major exponent at Cahiers du cinéma. To establish the intertexts and artistic principles his films put into play, the book reviews the abundant critical writings Rohmer published in France from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. It explores how sound and image are configured, and to what effect. The book then broaches issues central to the director's finest work for the screen. 'Seriality and theme', devoted to the Contes moraux, Comédies et proverbes, and Contes des quatre saisons, looks at how Rohmer's decision to work by thematic series forces the viewer to intuit relations of complementarity, identity, and opposition that lend each cycle a complex, musical texture. It pays close attention to four of the director's costume films. The book concludes with a brief excursus on le rohmérien, that inimitable, instantly recognisable variant of the French language that spectators come to love or to hate.
More English than the Brits' proclaims one of the chapter headings in Michel Ciment's seminal series of interviews with Joseph Losey. Losey's life embraces a major crisis in political commitment and public tolerance (the blacklist); his career, his oeuvre, spans the most fundamental cultural confrontation of the century, between Marxism and Modernism, between progressive "realism" and the avant-garde subversion of optimism. Losey began his directorial career in the leftist political theatre of the 1930s. For Losey, as for many leftists of the period, Communism meant allegiance to the Soviet ideological model, and by extension, to Stalin's policies. The 1950s proved to be a difficult decade for Joseph Losey, a period marked by prolonged exile, the ever-lengthening reach of the blacklist and the constant fear of betrayal. The Sleeping Tiger, The Intimate Stranger and A Man on the Beach were made during his period of exile in the 1950s. There was an experimental, writer-oriented focus in Joseph Losey's later work, opening the way for collaborations on a more equal footing. Losey collaborated three films with Harold Pinter: The Servant, Accident and The Go-Between. His involvement in Secret Ceremony, Boom! and Figures in a Landscape was a case of blatant economic necessity. Most of his work directly explores and addresses the ideological interpellation of women by analysing the cultural assumptions that both construct and perpetuate it. Losey officially became a tax exile after relocating himself from Chelsea to Paris because of tax problems.
of peace, stability, and widespread consensus around liberal values, increased
awareness of dissent from liberalism within liberal societies has cast significant
doubt on the validity of these assumptions. It is in this political context that a
burgeoning interest in realist political theory has arisen.
As the term suggests, there is a sense in which realism claims to stand in
a close relationship to, or is sensitive to the facts of, political reality. Other
theories, liberalism included, fail to take into account important truths about
politics and, in doing so
The creation of Soviet culture in the 1920s and the 1930s was the most radical of modernist projects, both in aesthetic and in political terms. This book explores the architecture of this period as the nexus between aesthetics and politics. The invention of communist culture in the aftermath of the October Revolution was perhaps the most radical of modernist projects. The book demonstrates that the relationships between utopia and reality, idealism and pragmatism, between the will for progress and the will for tyranny, are complex and that they do not always play out in the same way. Case studies presented demonstrate the notion that Soviet architecture of the 1920s defined the New Man as primarily a worker. In contrast, during the 1930s the New Man was supposed to be an admirer of socialism in aesthetic terms, the total work of art created by the Communist Party. After an overview of the evolution of Soviet subjectivity, the book discusses transition from the productivist ethos to the representational ethos, which is epitomized in the public baths constructed around 1930 in Leningrad and Moscow. These structures were envisioned as both efficient machines for the production of cleanliness and microcosmic representations of the Soviet society. The book also presents a particular genre of socialist realism, the environmental expertise of obshchestvennitsy, or socially minded women. Finally, it explores the history of this immense structure, clad in expensive marble and illuminated by electrical lighting, altogether the embodiment of socialist modernity.