environment, all played
their part in ensuring that the course of ‘true love’ in many of
the films discussed, invariably, did not run smoothly. The following section
will discuss how a group of 1990s films engaged with these themes and subject areas in a
British context from a distinctly modern and contemporary perspective.
Constructing romantic scenarios in 1990sBritishcinema
The beginning of the 1990s
This book explores the interactions of comedy and drama within a group of significant and influential films released during the decade of the 1990s. It examines a group of British films from this period which engage with economic and social issues in unusual and compelling ways. Brassed Off and The Full Monty are two films invoking very different cultural traditions as possible activities for unemployed males and troubled communities in modern British society. The book then discusses a number of contemporary British films focusing upon the experiences of British-Asian and African-Caribbean characters and their efforts to feel 'at home' in Western and British society. It features an extensive analysis of East is East, a comedy-drama about the cultural and ideological tensions surfacing between members of a British-Asian family living in Salford, circa 1971. Next, the book includes case studies of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, and Love Actually. It investigates the ways in which humour is deployed for dramatic and emotional effect in the context of scenarios dealing with such seemingly non-comic subjects as mass unemployment, failed or uneasy relationships, bitter family disputes, or instances of racial tension and conflict in British society. The book demonstrates that the interaction of comic and dramatic modes of narration within the films discussed proved to be a dynamic creative mechanism in 1990s British cinema, facilitating and enabling the construction of innovative and genuinely exploratory narratives about characters who are striving to realise particular aspirations and hopes within a complex culture.
‘Tears of laughter': comedy-drama in 1990s British cinema
Chapter 3 explores the emergence of
romantic comedy as a popular genre in 1990sBritishcinema, and includes
case studies of Four Weddings and a Funeral (Mike Newell, 1994),
Notting Hill (Roger Michell, 1999) and Love Actually (Richard
Curtis, 2003). These films are indicative of attempts by British film
producers during the decade to forge closer working relationships between
sense of himself as an important and influential figure, but, by
the end of the narrative, the ‘resistance activities’ of his
recalcitrant family have humiliated him, and reduced the level of his status
and position of authority.
A concern with language can also be seen as linking the various
examples of communal, ethnic and romantic comedy-drama in 1990sBritishcinema. A particular dispute in Brassed Off centres upon the
This is the first book-length study of one of the most significant of all British television writers, Jimmy McGovern. The book provides comprehensive coverage of all his work for television including early writing on Brookside, major documentary dramas such as Hillsborough and Sunday and more recent series such as The Street and Accused. Whilst the book is firmly focused on McGovern’s own work, the range of his output over the period in which he has been working also provides something of an overview of the radical changes in television drama commissioning that have taken place during this time. Without compromising his deeply-held convictions McGovern has managed to adapt to an ever changing environment, often using his position as a sought-after writer to defy industry trends. The book also challenges the notion of McGovern as an uncomplicated social realist in stylistic terms. Looking particularly at his later work, a case is made for McGovern employing a greater range of narrative approaches, albeit subtly and within boundaries that allow him to continue to write for large popular audiences. Finally it is worth pointing to the book’s examination of McGovern’s role in recent years as a mentor to new voices, frequently acting as a creative producer on series that he part-writes and part brings through different less-experienced names.
Hirst quoted in Haigh, ‘Kapur’s
Elizabeth ’, p. 127.
Hirst quoted in Gates, ‘The royal life (some
Moya Luckett, ‘Image and nation in 1990sBritishcinema’, in Robert Murphy (ed.), British
touching road movie-cum-love
story-cum-buddy movie ushered a new voice into British cinema.
The film’s very hybridity in genre terms made it
something of an oddity in the context of 1990sBritishcinema. The road
movie as such (to use one of the film’s favourite qualifiers, as in,
‘We only have tapes, not records as such’, someone tells Amanda
Plummer in the film’s first few minutes) is more likely to be American
directors and writers (unlike in Till Death Us Do Part and Love
Thy Neighbour ) to go beyond the reiterating of fixed positions by
characters, and to illustrate the complexities of the situations
Developing notions of ethnic comedy-drama in 1990sBritishcinema
The key British films exploring issues
of ethnicity and cultural identity produced during the 1990s were the result