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A certain tendency?
Author: B. F. Taylor

This book offers an opportunity to reconsider the films of the British New Wave in the light of forty years of heated debate. By eschewing the usual tendency to view films such as A Kind of Loving and The Entertainer collectively and include them in broader debates about class, gender and ideology, it presents a new look at this famous cycle of British films. Refuting the long-standing view that films such as Billy Liar and Look Back in Anger are flawed and therefore indicative of an under-achieving national cinema, the book also challenges the widely held belief in the continued importance of the relationship between the British New Wave and questions of realism. Drawing upon existing sources and returning to unchallenged assumptions about British cinema, this book allows the reader to return to the films and consider them anew. In order to achieve this, the book also offers a practical demonstration of the activity of film interpretation. This is essential, because the usual tendency is to consider such a process unnecessary when it comes to writing about British films. The book demonstrates that close readings of films need not be reserved for films from other cinemas.

A certain tendency?
B. F. Taylor

The British New Wave 1 The British New Wave: a certain tendency? The terrible thing about the cinema is the way it uses up everything. It exhausts ideas, stories, brands of stories, and suddenly finds itself faced with a kind of gulf, a ditch across which it must leap to capture some new and absolutely unforeseen territory. We’re not talking, obviously, about eternal masterpieces: clearly Shakespeare always had something to say, and he didn’t have to jump any ditch. But it’s a situation ordinary film production is likely to run into every five years or so. In

in The British New Wave
B. F. Taylor

164 The British New Wave 8 Single vessels and twisting ropes The business of film-going can be compared to a dialogue with people we care about. The discussion may often be affectionate, occasionally heated; but – no question – it should never be impersonal or indifferent. (Eric Rhode)1 The question of what becomes of objects when they are filmed and screened – like the question what becomes of particular people, and specific locales, and subjects and motifs when they are filmed by individual makers of film – has only one source of data for its answer, namely

in The British New Wave
The films of Tony Richardson
B. F. Taylor

a film’s significance might be. Yet, this is useful because ‘the undermining of interpretative authority opens up the interpretation itself to critical scrutiny.’4 TBNC02 37 15/3/06, 10:00 AM 37 38 The British New Wave It is true that the act of interpretation in (British) cinema still arouses certain suspicions. Using the details of a film as a starting-point for producing an interpretative reading is a process still tainted, to whatever degree, by the original desire to finger-print a film for direct evidence of individual authorial involvement that

in The British New Wave
B. F. Taylor

with, This Sporting Life demonstrates a remarkable predilection for filling its frames with bodies. In addition, the stylistic choices that Anderson makes in order to pursue this policy have resulted in some of the most interesting critical debates concerning a New Wave film. Thematically, there is an overwhelming desire for personal expression evident in Anderson’s film. As the film unfolds, the demonstration of this desire is accompanied by the inevitable dissatisfaction that comes from a lack of personal fulfilment. Internally, both of these things inform our

in The British New Wave
Arthur Seaton and the arc of flight
B. F. Taylor

124 The British New Wave 6 Straight lines and rigid readings: Arthur Seaton and the arc of flight There is a passage of D.H Lawrence (it occurs in Lady Chatterley’s Lover) that [F.R] Leavis was fond of quoting: ‘It is the way our sympathy flows and recoils that really determines our lives. And here lies the importance of the novel properly handled: it can lead the sympathetic consciousness into new places, and away in recoil from things gone dead.’ One can make the same claim for criticism ‘properly handled’: its function should equally be to ‘lead the

in The British New Wave
Abstract only
Jonathan Driskell

This chapter focuses on another important stage in Carné’s career by examining his relationship with a key moment in French film history – indeed, probably its most famous moment – the French new wave. In the last chapter and in Chapter 1 I began to discuss the significance of this meeting, between one of France’s great classical directors and the filmmakers of the new wave. While ‘Most Cahiers du Cinéma

in Marcel Carné
Abstract only
Guy Austin

Chabrol has excellent new-wave credentials and is in some ways a representative figure for this innovative movement in French cinema. A film fan from an early age, he ran a film club in the village of Sardent (to which he had been evacuated from Paris during the Second World War). On his return to the capital, he frequented student film clubs where he met the future new-wave directors François Truffaut

in Claude Chabrol
Jack Clayton’s Room at the Top
B. F. Taylor

was this ‘appearance’ that caused style-based critics such as Perkins to reject the British New Wave (almost) out of hand. From this perspective, the boundaries of Petley’s ‘lost continent’ become further extended. Admittedly, as Peter Hutchings acknowledges elsewhere, there is still ‘unfinished business’ when it comes to discussions of authorship and British cinema. Like him, however, I have no interest in supporting or disproving the auteurist method ‘in general or in its specific application TBNC03 69 15/3/06, 9:59 AM 69 70 The British New Wave to British

in The British New Wave
Abstract only
B. F. Taylor

108 The British New Wave 5 The critical forest As much as I remain dedicated to the cinema, however, I cannot pretend it is culturally self-sufficient. The best criticism will continue to be the criticism that is richest in associations. There are all kinds of gaps and blind spots to be explored. The danger is that a methodological orthodoxy will stifle all individual initiatives in the scholarly sector, and only widen the gap between showbiz and academe. (Andrew Sarris)1 Our aim is to provide people with the means for making their own judgements. We try to

in The British New Wave