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From the silent era to the 1990s

Long before the emergence in the 1990s of a ‘cinéma de banlieue’ on the heels of Mathieu Kassovitz’s La Haine (1995), French filmmakers looked beyond the gates of the French capital for inspiration and content. In the Paris suburbs, they found a vast reservoir of architectural forms, landscapes and contemporary social types in which to anchor their fictions. From the villas and vacant lots of silent serials of the 1910s and the bucolic riverside guinguettes of 1930s poetic realism, to the housing estates and motorways of the second post-war, the suburban landscape came to form a privileged site in the French cinematographic imaginary. In keeping with directorial vision, the prerogatives of the film industry or the internal demands of genre, the suburb could be made to impart a strong impression of reality or unreality, novelty or ordinariness, danger or enjoyment. The contributors to this volume argue collectively for a long history of the suburban imaginary by contrasting diverse ‘structures of feeling’ (Raymond Williams) that correlate to divergent aesthetic and ideological programmes. Commenting on narrative, documentary and essay films, they address such themes as class conflict, leisure, boredom, violence and anti-authoritarianism, underscoring the broader function of the suburb as a site of intense cultural productivity.

Does popular culture mean popular language?
Nigel Armstrong

identity which might be labelled ‘Northerner’, while to reconstruct that component of one’s accent so as to abandon northern front ‘a’ may be to acknowledge diminished allegiance to one’s Northerner status. Attempting to theorise or even describe the interplay between the various elements of social structure and social identity is a formidable task indeed, at least on any large scale. It has been assumed until fairly recently HolmesLooseley_01_TextC.indd 196 29/11/2012 10:50 Does popular culture mean popular language? 197 that social class is generally the major

in Imagining the popular in contemporary French culture
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Dramaturge and mauvais esprit
Sarah Leahy and Isabelle Vanderschelden

after screenwriters of the classical period, described by Pierre Billard ( 1995 : 256) as the ‘dramaturge’ of French cinema (in contrast to Prévert, the poet). He played a major role in shaping the classic French cinema, influencing the stories that were told and their recurring preoccupations. These include themes that are indelibly associated with 1930s French cinema, such as social class

in Screenwriters in French cinema
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Stephanie Dennison and Lisa Shaw

reporter in Pistoleiro bossa nova (Bossa Nova Gunman, 1960), set in the one-horse town of Desespero, who represents the newspaper A Voz do Desespero (literally ‘The Voice of Despair’). The chanchadas thus got their own back on the relentless savaging that they received from film critics in the press. The dialogues of these comedy films repeatedly used language as a marker of social class, and the penchant of social climbers

in Popular cinema in Brazil, 1930–2001
Jonathan Rayner

subsequent analyses, in terms of the particular characteristics of scripting, casting and shooting displayed by films made during and portraying Britain’s war. The documentary and propagandist emphases result in distinctive national modifiers to the accepted conventions of the war film. In British wartime filmmaking, the recognition of differences across social classes, the incorporation of regional diversity in national representation, and the informative worth of factual images encapsulate the judicious assimilation of documentary materials and meanings within feature

in The naval war film
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Investigating British television police series
Author: Ben Lamb

You’re nicked is a genre study of police series produced by UK television from 1955 to the 2010s. It considers how the relationship among production practices, visual stylistics, and resultant ideology has evolved over the past sixty years, and how this has had an impact on changing cultural definitions of the police series genre.

To chart the development of the genre each chapter focuses on a particular decade to examine how key series represent the changes that gendered identities and social-class demographics were experiencing economically, socially, and politically in light of the disassembly of the postwar settlement. Depictions of the police station, domestic scenes of criminals, and the private lives of police officials are examined to unearth the complex ideology underpinning each series and to determine how the police series genre can be used to document socio-economic changes to British society.

This book provides a chronological study of popular cinema in Brazil since the introduction of sound at the beginning of the 1930s. It begins the study with a brief discussion of how people understand the term 'popular cinema', particularly within a Latin American context. The focus is on films that have intentionally engaged with 'low-brow' cultural products, whose origins lie in pre-industrial traditions, and which have been enjoyed by wide sectors of the population, chiefly at the lower end of the social hierarchy. Perhaps the most important contribution of the chanchada of the 1950s was to render visible a social class within Brazil's socio-cultural landscape, and to champion the underdog, who succeeds in triumphing, through malandragem, over more powerful opponents. Brazilian popular cinema, at least until the 1980s, can be seen as a direct descendant of other shared cultural experiences. Popular film in Brazil is littered with examples of carnivalesque inversions of societal norms and established hierarchies. The 1930s witnessed the rise of the radio, the record industry and the talking cinema. The first half of the 1940s witnessed a continuation of Getúlio Vargas's quest for economic expansion based on the creation of a dignified workforce, rewarded for its efforts by improvements in the welfare system. The book also looks at three very popular cinematic sub-genres which provided a continuation of the chanchada tradition in Brazilian filmmaking: the films of Amacio Mazzaropi; those of the comedic quartet known as the Trapalhoes; and the so-called pornochanchada series of films.

Jason Statham’s sartorial style
Steven Gerrard

Clothing plays a pivotal role in the social, contextual and sexual construction of identity. So does nakedness. Both provide direct evidence of status, gender and cultural agency, stressing norms of appropriate appearances at particular points in time. However, both can also be used to subvert traditional meanings, to overturn ideas of regional identity, social class and sexuality. This chapter will investigate how Statham’s (often) near-nakedness and his sartorial (non) elegance become representative of identity, and as cultural signifiers across his filmic work.

in Crank it up
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Los amantes pasajeros and Julieta
Ana María Sánchez-Arce

This chapter argues that although Los amantes pasajeros and Julieta are formally and generically different, they are still completely within the Almodóvar spectrum. The return to comedy closely followed by drama is a very Almodovarian response to the deep financial and institutional crisis that Spain has been immersed in for more than a decade. Both films fall within a Spanish tradition of ‘crisis cinema’ either by using satire and comedy to link characters’ experiences to communal ones in Los amantes or by using physical vulnerability allegorically to ponder vulnerability on a larger scale. Los amantes not only satirises different social classes and institutions, it also parodies a current Spanish trend in literature and television of re-creating Spain’s recent past, using a nostalgic gaze to look back to the Transition and movida years in order to critique the narrative of the perfect Transition based on censorship of the past and the inertia of contemporary Spaniards. Julieta, based on Alice Munro’s stories, is a fragmented narrative with elisions at its heart, showing how censoring the past wreaks havoc in the present for two generations.

in The cinema of Pedro Almodóvar
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Author: Steve Blandford

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.