The Langham Group and the search for a new television drama
3049 Experimental British Tele
‘Creative in its own right’: the Langham
Group and the search for a new television
The Langham Group, an experimental outfit established within the BBC in
1959, occupies an unusual position in the history of British television
drama. While most accounts of the development of TV drama in Britain pay
lip-service to the group’s efforts, these have mainly been written off as
unsuccessful. Such a view appears to have settled into a critical orthodoxy in
the early 1960s and has prevailed ever
Theorising from the Epicentres of Our Agency, Wits University, Johannesburg, South Africa
Bibi Burger, Motlatsi Khosi, and Lavinia Brydon
In this co-authored review-reflection, we discuss the African Feminisms 2019 conference, offering a snapshot of the vital and emboldening African feminist work being conducted by researchers, cultural producers and creative practitioners at all levels of their careers, as well as a sense of the emotional labour that this work entails. We note the particular, shocking event that took place in South Africa just prior to the conference informed the papers, performances and ensuing discussions. We also note that the conference and many of its attendees advocated for a variety of approaches (and more than one feminism) when seeking to challenge power.
The Awakening (2011) and Development Practices in the British Film
This article reveals how screenwriter Stephen Volk‘s idea for a sequel to The
Innocents (1961, Jack Clayton) became, over the course of fifteen years, the British
horror film The Awakening (2011, Nick Murphy). It examines practitioner interviews to
reflect on creative labour in the British film industry, while also reorientating the
analysis of British horror film to the practices of pre-production, specifically
development. The research reveals that female protagonist Florence Cathcart was a
major problem for the project and demonstrates how the Florence character changed
throughout the development process. Repeatedly rewritten and ultimately restrained by
successive male personnel, her character reveals persistent, problematic perceptions
of gender in British horror filmmaking.
Critics and Critical Practice at the Monthly Film Bulletin
Richard Lowell MacDonald
This article focuses on the Monthly Film Bulletin, a magazine devoted to what is
often regarded as the lowliest and most ephemeral form of film criticism: the film
review. Studying the Bulletins publication history, with a particular emphasis on the
1970s, the article challenges the dismissal of journalistically motivated film
criticism in academic discourse. It argues that the historical interest of the
Bulletins late period lies in its hybrid identity, a journal of record in which both
accurate information and personal evaluation coexisted as values, and in which a
polyphony of individual critical voices creatively worked through a routinised
reviewing practice and a generic discursive format.
Exclusions and Exchanges in the History of European Horror Cinema
British horror cinema is often excluded from critical work dealing with European
horror cinema or, as it is frequently referred to, Eurohorror. This article argues
that such exclusion is unwarranted. From the 1950s onwards there have been many
exchanges between British and continental European-based horror production. These
have involved not just international co-production deals but also creative per-
sonnel moving from country to country. In addition, British horror films have exerted
influence on European horror cinema and vice versa. At the same time, the exclusion
of British horror from the Eurohorror category reveals limitations in that category,
particularly its idealisation of continental European horror production.
This article considers the recurring motif of the female driver in a selection of films by Alfred Hitchcock. By placing these screen representations of female drivers within the context of prevailing attitudes found throughout twentieth-century American society, the discussion seeks to evaluate Hitchcock’s creative deployment of potent cultural issues in his work. In this pursuit, the article identifies certain disparities in the portrayals of female drivers, resulting in both positive and negative depictions, which can be related to the director’s broader ambivalence towards femininity throughout his oeuvre.
Miscellaneous Remarks on Godards Conceptual Processes Apropos of Sauve qui
peut (la vie)
Jean-Luc Godard‘s Sauve qui peut (la vie) holds a uniquely pivotal position in the
directors oeuvre and provides the occasion for a case study in how he conceives and
develops his works. Amongst the salient features of this process are Godard‘s
invention of the ‘video-scenario’ format, enabling him to couch his ideas in visual
rather than verbal form from the very moment of their inception; his desire to “look
at things a bit scientifically”; and a use of commissioned and pre-existing music
which lies at the very heart of his creative method.
This is a book-length study of one of the most respected and prolific producers working in British television. From ground-breaking dramas from the 1960s such as Up the Junction and Cathy Come Home to the ‘must-see’ series in the 1990s and 2000s such as This Life and The Cops, Tony Garnett has produced some of the most important and influential British television drama. This book charts his career from his early days as an actor to his position as executive producer and head of World Productions, focusing on the ways in which he has helped to define the role of the creative producer, shaping the distinctive politics and aesthetics of the drama he has produced, and enabling and facilitating the contributions of others. Garnett's distinctive contribution to the development of a social realist aesthetic is also examined, through the documentary-inspired early single plays to the subversion of genre within popular drama series.
This book aims to provoke increased interest in the work of the four directors:
Dominique Cabrera, Noémie Lvovsky, Laetitia Masson and Marion Vernoux, although
some of their early works have become more difficult to access, most of their
films remain commercially available through French distributors. The four
directors are not new arrivals and began making films in the early 1990s, yet
they have received scant critical attention in both popular and academic film
criticism. They share similar profiles in terms of box office success, number of
films made and generational affinities and, shorts and feature films in France.
They make films that straddle boundaries of categorisation and therefore escape
the quickly established and self-perpetuating groupings that serve as powerful
frameworks for popular access via DVD distribution, critical canonisation and
academic curricula. Whilst Cabrera attests her sanguine awareness of the
discriminatory treatment of women in all areas of the film industry she rejects
the suggestion that the process of her filmmaking is determined by sexual
difference or a gendered creative identity, asserting provocatively. The book
discusses Masson's use of romance and detective narratives to debunk the
former and subvert the later. The career path of Lvovsky remains distinctive
from that of other directors. Vernoux's oeuvre maintains a coherent focus
on the modes of transgression present within the generic conventions of comedy
and romance in films which exploit the common narrative device of the encounter
to propel narratives and characters across social boundaries within a dominant
generic focus on romantic comedy.
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.