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The cultural politics of popular film
Chris Beasley and Heather Brook

1 Introduction: the cultural politics of popular film Going to the movies and mulling over power and politics are usually understood to be mutually exclusive activities. Movies are often thought to be escapist entertainments specifically removed from the world of power, politics, and social analysis. Yet even though movies may well be experienced as enjoyable flights of fancy, they are also thoroughly implicated and invested in power relations – they are part of the cultural and political landscape that both constructs and reflects social life. Movies and

in The cultural politics of contemporary Hollywood film
Screening Victoria
Steven Fielding

When British politicians complain that television dramatists have failed to produce a native equivalent of The West Wing – that is, a series about politics that presents its practitioners as noble and effective – they forget one vital detail. 1 President Jed Bartlet, the central protagonist in the NBC series, which in the United States ran from 1999 to 2006, is a head

in The British monarchy on screen
John Williamson and Martin Cloonan

89 4 The politics of dancing: 1934–1945 Following Ehrlich’s assessment that the 1930s were a ‘watershed moment’ for the music profession, we argue that 1934 was a significant turning point for the MU. With the first signs of a reversal of the dire consequences of the talkies and recession for the profession, it was also the year in which the recording and broadcasting industries reorganised in ways that were to prove integral to the Union’s immediate survival and long-term future. This chapter concentrates on the period of revival that made this possible. We

in Players’ work time
Swedish Sex Education in 1970s London
Adrian Smith

In 1974 the British Board of Film Censors refused to grant a certificate to the Swedish documentary More About the Language of Love (Mera ur Kärlekens språk, 1970, Torgny Wickman, Sweden: Swedish Film Production), due to its explicit sexual content. Nevertheless, the Greater London Council granted the film an ‘X’ certificate so that it could be shown legally in cinemas throughout the capital. This article details the trial against the cinema manager and owners, after the film was seized by police under the charge of obscenity, and explores the impact on British arguments around film censorship, revealing a range of attitudes towards sex and pornography. Drawing on archival records of the trial, the widespread press coverage as well as participants’ subsequent reflections, the article builds upon Elisabet Björklund’s work on Swedish sex education films and Eric Schaefer’s scholarship on Sweden’s ‘sexy nation’ reputation to argue that the Swedish films’ transnational distribution complicated tensions between educational and exploitative intentions in a particularly British culture war over censorship.

Film Studies
The Dardenne brothers
Martin O’Shaughnessy

creative or poetic documentary and for the way in which it provides a pre-history for the later fictions, a pre-history which not only points to the novelty of the socio-political terrain upon which they have to operate, but also helps us to understand some of the radical stylistic and formal choices that they make. The documentaries sought to explain, prolong and question a leftist tradition of struggle at a time when it and the

in Five directors
Queer As Folk and the geo-ideological inscription of gay sexuality
Peter Billingham

In this essay I explore the ways in which, within a geo-ideological analysis of the controversial Channel 4 drama series Queer As Folk, one may view fundamental issues regarding the politics of the representation of gay sexuality. My use of a popular cultural colloquialism, ‘kinky sex’, is deliberately, ironically provocative. Within that term are potent subtextual signifiers of erotic otherness and exotic marginalised positions: the ‘kink’ is simultaneously ‘bent’ (a diminutive pejorative of homosexuals) whilst, as a deviation from a restrictive normative

in Popular television drama
Sarah Daynes

10 The construction of a socio-political memory Two thousand years of history Could not be wiped away so easily Two thousand years of history, black history Could not be wiped so easily. Bob Marley & the Wailers, “Zion train,” 1980 – But wait, nobody no left? – It’s only we Rasta. Steel Pulse, “Tribute to the martyrs,” 1979 Reggae music expresses a central will: the recognition of a history of struggle, against slavery, segregation, and colonization. This history starts with the slave trade and is in permanent and continuous construction; while it is logically

in Time and memory in reggae music
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Chris Beasley and Heather Brook

2 Frames Movies are cultural artefacts with specific political and social frames of reference. This chapter provides an overview of two frames we use to register and delineate the cultural politics of film. The first of these is conceptual, and turns on the idea that Hollywood movies both reflect and produce political myths. We introduce and define such myths, exploring how an expanding, globalising Hollywood is implicated in reiterating and generating fundamental political understandings. In addition, even though the main focus of our attention is contemporary

in The cultural politics of contemporary Hollywood film
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Socially critical movies
Chris Beasley and Heather Brook

10 Against the grain? Socially critical movies In this book, we offer a broad understanding of the political, asserting that mass-cultural products like Hollywood film are necessarily political in one way or another. Our perspective, in this sense, is somewhat novel. As we argued in the Introduction to this book, the more usual approach is to consider as ‘political’ only those films overtly about politicians, current events, or politically controversial movies, and to consider them on an individual basis. Even where the domain of the political is extended to

in The cultural politics of contemporary Hollywood film
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The ‘metropole’ and peripheral ‘others’
Chris Beasley and Heather Brook

12 The big picture: the ‘metropole’ and peripheral ‘others’ In this book we locate Hollywood films as a form of ‘political technology’ – a technology that generates and manipulates ideas, individual and collective identities, inter-relational bodies, and fictionalised flows by giving cinematic flesh to certain myths, characters, and narratives. Our intention is to challenge any attempt to cocoon culture from power and the political. We raise connections here to Joseph Nye’s (2004) focus on rendering state power attractive by the use of cultural forms at some

in The cultural politics of contemporary Hollywood film