6 Not British, Scottish?: The Last King of Scotland and post-imperial Scottish cinema Idi Amin (Forest Whitaker): You are British? James Garrigan (James McAvoy): Well, I’m Scottish . . . Scottish . . . Idi Amin: Scottish? Why didn’t you say so? (Dialogue exchange from The Last King of Scotland) With a number of major awards to its name – including an Oscar and a Golden Globe – and an international box office return second only to Trainspotting, The Last King of Scotland is one of the most high-profile films that Scotland has seen. Despite this, it has only
The 2000s were a decade that saw many important Scottish films make big splashes in critical and commercial terms, the decade ending with Peter Mullan's acclaimed film Neds. The field of Scottish cinema studies was more or less born with Scotch Reels (1982), a collection of essays edited by Colin McArthur. The collection sought to unearth a history of cinematic representations of Scotland and to argue for the need for more indigenous production. Scottish cinema studies is now a field that is very much alive and vibrant, as evidenced by a recent wave of book-length publications such as the latest anthology on Scottish cinema, Scottish Cinema Now (2009). This book seeks to add to this growing tide of scholarship and in so doing assist with the project of subjecting the works of Scottish cinema to sustained close analysis and historicization. The central context of this book is the production landscape surrounding Scottish cinema over the last thirty years. After Local Hero and Trainspotting, Mrs Brown ranks as the most prominent indigenously produced contemporary Scottish film in terms of both popularity and critical prestige. The book explores Lynne Ramsay's career after Morvern Callar telling us about the optimistic narratives presented by Scottish cinema historians. The book also concerns with a figure who has been less successful in critical terms than his peers even if his films, particularly Young Adam and Hallam Foe, have resonated more with audiences than Red Road, Orphans or Neds.
This short essay draws on research undertaken by the curator of the Scottish Screen Archive on the few surviving films credited to Greens Film Service of Glasgow in the teens and twenties. The research revealed a dynamic family business, born out of the travelling cinematograph shows of the late nineteenth century, growing to assume a dominant role in the Scottish cinema trade in the silent era, across exhibition, distribution and production. One small part of a lost film history waiting for rediscovery – early cinema in Scotland.
Glasgow Corporation had been sponsoring films for almost twenty years when in 1938 its Public Health Department commissioned seven silent films. This marked new relations between the Corporation and the emerging Scottish documentary film movement and a change of approach towards the films’ audiences and the city itself. The essay traces the Corporation‘s film sponsorship from the late 1930s to 1978 when the final images of Glasgow‘s Progress, the Corporation‘s last sponsored film - on its urban renewal projects were taken. By then the Corporation had been amalgamated into Strathclyde Regional Council, the century-long social project of reform had come to an end and television had made its own documentary impact. It argues that over time Corporation films served a variety of political and institutional purposes and often prefigured the fortunes of the city and its people.
5 Broadcasting a nation: the BBC and national identity in Scotland T his chapter argues that the BBC and its station in Scotland played an important role in sustaining and reinforcing a complex sense of Scottish national identity during the period from 1923 to 1953. The BBC did not act as an agent in the anglicization of Scotland, nor did it seek to impose a wholly metropolitan, southern English culture or identity on Scotland. Rather, the BBC, perhaps the most powerful institution for the dissemination of information and entertainment in Scotland, constructed
I am proud to come from Scotland and my dearest wish is to see Scotland free. 1 Until his death on 31 October 2020 Connery was ‘the world's most famous Scot’, the ‘only person, according to the Scottish Tourist Board, whom foreigners unhesitatingly identify as a Scot. The burr in his famous voice is the voice of Scotland to
The landscape of Scotland – whether it is in the shape of the Highlands and Islands of the north, or the Lowlands of the south – represents a key economic and cultural resource to the nation. In economic terms the land and sea contain natural resources and support fishing, agriculture and tourist industries, and in cultural terms they are key to literature, music, theatre
Conclusions Having now traversed thirty years of film-making in Scotland and explored six very different films in depth, utilizing a range of approaches, we can now make some observations and conclusions regarding Scottish cinema in a period of unmatched productivity and popularity at home and abroad. Primary among these are observations related to the making of Scottish films. As has been thoroughly documented throughout this book, changes in the industrial landscape of Scottish cinema have been vital to the upsurge of film-making, but it is vital to note that
Introduction: surveying Scottish cinema, 1979 –present From a handful of locally produced documentaries, television programmes and little else in 1979, Scotland has seen unprecedented growth in feature film-making in the last three decades. Beginning with Bill Forsyth’s That Sinking Feeling, followed in quick succession by the director’s Gregory’s Girl (1981) and a number of films commissioned by the newly formed Channel 4, Scotland in the early 1980s was already seeing an upsurge in film-making without parallel in the nation’s history. Those heady days were
2 Mrs Brown: Scottish cinema in an age of devolved public service broadcasting After Local Hero and Trainspotting, Mrs Brown ranks as the most prominent indigenously produced contemporary Scottish film in terms of both popularity and critical prestige. Despite this position, the film is only briefly discussed, if at all, within writing on Scottish cinema, until now garnering only brief mentions in survey histories and a short analysis in a dossier publication (Neely, 2005). More extensive treatments of the film can be found within British cinema studies, but