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Ian Aitken

became an important political objective for film-makers on the left, and many of the most important films made over this period draw directly upon the realist and naturalist tradition. Realist cinema, 1930–8 So far, the link between nineteenth-century critical realism/naturalism and twentieth-century French film-making has been followed from Zola to Antoine, then to pictorialist

in Realist film theory and cinema
Abstract only
Modes of reading in Marxist-socialist and post-Marxist-socialist Television drama criticism
Geraldine Harris

aesthetics and political progressiveness in television drama. For instance, as a Marxist-socialist Trevor Griffiths was often called on to defend the use of television naturalism within his screenplays. He did so on the grounds of accessibility to a popular audience but also asserted that rather than naturalism, which he defined as un-self-reflexive, he actually employed a type of ‘critical realism’, which he placed firmly within a Marxist-socialist literary tradition (see Griffiths, 1986 and Poole and Wyver, 1984). As this suggests, the definition of realism and

in Beyond representation
Dave Rolinson

that its ‘sensationalism’ undermined ‘the truth’ implied by its ‘tone of moral outrage’, Clarke moves away from the apparent passivity of observational technique to the participatory rhetoric of Steadicam, a shift which brings to mind the distinction which Georg Lukács (1973) made in literature between ‘naturalism’ and ‘critical realism’. Lukács compared the depictions of horse races by Tolstoy and Zola to argue that naturalism describes events from the standpoint of an observer – the experimental naturalism of Zola which, as I have argued, compares with the

in Alan Clarke
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Diasporic subjectivities and ‘race relations’ dramas (Supply and Demand, The Bill, Second Generation)
Geraldine Harris

series such as Prime Suspect and The Governor show many of the characteristics of the type of critical realism discussed by Nelson, which ‘shakes, if not actually breaks, the realist frame’ (Nelson, 1997: 120). They also tend to be structured around parallels, contradictions and reversals, employing dialectical narrative structures and modes of characterisation to expose contradictions between the personal, the professional and the political, in ways that are never entirely resolved by the closure of the narrative. All of this potentially complicates the process of

in Beyond representation
Metrosexuality and The Murder of Stephen Lawrence
Geraldine Harris

:phil:Public Conclusion: beyond (simple) representation? 171 ultimately I do tend to lean towards the privileging of certain types of aesthetic strategies over others. These are often (but not always) closer to Nelson’s notion of ‘critical post-modernism’ than his ‘critical realism’. However, for me, this is once again, to paraphrase Butler, a matter of the necessity of provisionally instating a position, while attempting at the same time to open it up ‘as a permanent site of contest’ (see Butler, 1993: 222). Nevertheless, in foregrounding these political alignments, in comparison to

in Beyond representation
Dave Rolinson

summaries lies the danger of essentialism; descriptive naturalism possesses its own ideological dynamism. Observing that the ‘classic realist text’ was used ‘as the straw man against which both Modernist innovation and critical realism in a Brechtian mode were measured’, Bignell, Lacey and Macmurraugh-Kavanagh (2000: 88) noted that 1960s drama-documentaries could be seen as ‘modernist rather than realist, with their concern to explore issues of form and their sense of engagement with the contemporary’. This was Dennis Potter’s view in the 1970s; even whilst arguing for

in Alan Clarke
From Madonna to Ally McBeal
Geraldine Harris

Friends in the North, which Nelson uses to exemplify progressive critical realism in television drama (see Chapter 1). Both dramas follow a small group of protagonists over several decades, interweaving the historical, the personal and the political, with Our Friends focusing on socialism and Big Women representing key moments and debates in the recent history of feminism. However, whereas Our Friends was critical of British socialism but supportive M410 HARRIS TEXT.qxd 20/7/06 11:35 AM Page 51 Phil's G4 Phil's G4:Users:phil:Public The end(s) of feminism(s)? 51

in Beyond representation
Lukácsian cinematic realism in Danton (1990) and Senso (1954)
Ian Aitken

resides in the fact that it was made at a time when, following the death of Stalin and consequent liberalisation, Marxist film theorists and film-makers were turning again from a dogmatic socialist realism, to the models of critical realism elaborated by Lukács. Like Danton , Senso can be considered Lukácsian in the way that it attempts to portray a historical conjuncture through the prism of individual

in Realist film theory and cinema
Ian Aitken

years’. 3 The conviction that Lukács’ model of critical realism is both organically and inflexibly wedded to the nineteenth-century realist tradition, and incompatible with modernism, has led many to dismiss his thought and contribution, either in part or in whole. However, and as this chapter will attempt to show, an analysis of the core premises which underlie Lukács’ theoretical model throws this conviction into some

in Realist film theory and cinema
Ian Aitken

this period in the limelight was once more to prove epigrammatic, and, after 1934, Lukács’ influence was sharply curtailed when his then symbiotic theory of critical realism, the literary expression of the political views expressed in the Blum Theses , was displaced by the dogmatic doctrine of socialist realism advocated by Maxim Gorky, Alexandrovitch Zhdanov and others

in Lukácsian film theory and cinema