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Michael Winterbottom is the most prolific and the most audacious of British filmmakers in the last twenty years. His television career began in the cutting-rooms at Thames Television, and his first directing experience was on the Thames TV documentaries, Ingmar Bergman: The Magic Lantern and Ingmar Bergman: The Director, made in 1988. Winterbottom has featured in top ten lists in Britain and his name has become a moniker of distinction in the promotion of his own films. This book articulates the ideas which have led to the name 'Michael Winterbottom' being associated with a particular body of work and, second, by turning to those factors which tend to dissipate the idea of Winterbottom as the single source of a world view and style, and to relocate his films within a constellation of directors, films and (principally European) national cinemas. It is important to acknowledge that all of his films employ realism across a variety of styles, genres and historical representations. The book focuses on Welcome to Sarajevo, Wonderland, In This World and The Road to Guantánamo, with a brief reference to 24 Hour Party People as five very different films that have particular relationships with the historical world that they represent. It considers what Winterbottom has done with such popular genres as the road movie, the musical and the sciencefiction thriller, how far he has adapted their conventions to contemporary film practice and ideology, and whether these films, in reworking Hollywood genres, exhibit any peculiarly British inflections.

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Brian McFarlane and Deane Williams

filmmaking, in particular the New Waves of France and Germany in the 1960s and 1970s. It is important to acknowledge that all of his films employ realism across a variety of styles, genres and historical representations. In this chapter we will focus on Welcome to Sarajevo , Wonderland , In This World and The Road to Guantánamo , with a brief reference to 24 Hour Party People (discussed at greater length in chapter 5 ) as

in Michael Winterbottom
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Brian McFarlane and Deane Williams

) 7 The director at work. Winterbottom, 2003 8 Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan (as themselves and others) at odds in A Cock and Bull Story (2006) 9 Images of oppression in The Road to Guantánamo

in Michael Winterbottom
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Doing what you want to do
Brian McFarlane and Deane Williams

budgets for it to not be too high a risk. That’s especially true of In This World and The Road to Guantánamo , which were made from such low budgets that people made money from them. 1 As the preceding chapters have indicated, the reviews, since the days of Butterfly Kiss and Jude , have tended to praise Winterbottom and the Revolution

in Michael Winterbottom
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Brian McFarlane and Deane Williams

, came In This World and The Road to Guantánamo . In matters of theme and ideological preoccupation, it is possible to view it as the third in his series of films set in Asian countries (all are at least partly set and shot in Pakistan), where the threat of terrorism and the dubiety of western intervention create a perilous volatility. As one watches the alarming narrative of A Mighty Heart unfold, it is inevitable that

in Michael Winterbottom
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Brian McFarlane and Deane Williams

edited, and The Road to Guantánamo (2006), which he also edited), he has acted as executive producer on several films by other directors. These include: Resurrection Man (1998, directed by Marc Evans, whom he knew from his Bristol days); Heartlands (2002, directed by Damien O’Donnell); Bright Young Things (2003, directed by Stephen Fry), the undervalued adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s Vile Bodies ; and Snow Cake

in Michael Winterbottom
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Winterbottom and a body of work
Brian McFarlane and Deane Williams

shoot 9 Songs , A Cock and Bull Story , The Road to Guantánamo and A Mighty Heart (2007). Küchler began his career working with Lynne Ramsay on her shorts, Small Deaths (1996), Kill the Day (1996) and Gasman (1997), before moving on to her features, Ratcatcher (1999) and Morvern Callar (2002), and Kevin Macdonald’s One Day in September (1999). Küchler was cinematographer on

in Michael Winterbottom
Brian McFarlane and Deane Williams

as Welcome to Sarajevo or The Claim ; its interests are intensely personal, not overtly political as in films such as In This World or The Road to Guantánamo ; it is an original story, not adapted from a well-known novel as Jude or A Cock and Bull Story were; it doesn’t try to embrace the multiple narrative strands of, say, Wonderland . If the ‘made-for-television’ descriptor implies focus

in Michael Winterbottom
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Brian McFarlane and Deane Williams

film ‘subtly blends real newsreel footage with fictional characters so that they all fit convincingly into the same shot’. 24 This formal strategy is not uncommon in Winterbottom’s work: others which make use of it include Welcome to Sarajevo , In This World and The Road to Guantánamo . In all of these the blurring of the reality and the re-enactment characterises his approach to known events or, in the case of filming

in Michael Winterbottom
Realism, recognition and representation
Jonathan Bignell

9/11 events: The Hamburg Cell (2004), and in 2006 9/11: The Twin Towers, The Path to 9/11 and 9/11: The Flight That Fought Back. These docudramas share a concern to investigate recent events of historical significance in a hybrid form, as did The Government Inspector (2005) about the controversy over Iraq’s absent weapons of mass destruction and The Road to Guantanamo (2006) about the ‘war on

in Genre and performance