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Michael Winterbottom is the most prolific and the most audacious of British filmmakers in the last twenty years. His television career began in the cutting-rooms at Thames Television, and his first directing experience was on the Thames TV documentaries, Ingmar Bergman: The Magic Lantern and Ingmar Bergman: The Director, made in 1988. Winterbottom has featured in top ten lists in Britain and his name has become a moniker of distinction in the promotion of his own films. This book articulates the ideas which have led to the name 'Michael Winterbottom' being associated with a particular body of work and, second, by turning to those factors which tend to dissipate the idea of Winterbottom as the single source of a world view and style, and to relocate his films within a constellation of directors, films and (principally European) national cinemas. It is important to acknowledge that all of his films employ realism across a variety of styles, genres and historical representations. The book focuses on Welcome to Sarajevo, Wonderland, In This World and The Road to Guantánamo, with a brief reference to 24 Hour Party People as five very different films that have particular relationships with the historical world that they represent. It considers what Winterbottom has done with such popular genres as the road movie, the musical and the sciencefiction thriller, how far he has adapted their conventions to contemporary film practice and ideology, and whether these films, in reworking Hollywood genres, exhibit any peculiarly British inflections.

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Brian McFarlane and Deane Williams

filmmaking, in particular the New Waves of France and Germany in the 1960s and 1970s. It is important to acknowledge that all of his films employ realism across a variety of styles, genres and historical representations. In this chapter we will focus on Welcome to Sarajevo , Wonderland , In This World and The Road to Guantánamo , with a brief reference to 24 Hour Party People (discussed at greater length in chapter 5 ) as

in Michael Winterbottom
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Brian McFarlane and Deane Williams

another foray into politically dangerous territory. In this respect, it reminds one of Welcome to Sarajevo , which found drama in the war-torn Balkan states of the former Yugoslavia. And it looks forward to Murder in Samarkand (for 2008 release), in which western participation in the affairs of Third World countries will come under scrutiny. Between these two films, ‘ripped from the headlines’ as publicists are apt to say

in Michael Winterbottom
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Winterbottom and a body of work
Brian McFarlane and Deane Williams

(1989), Cottrell Boyce first worked with Winterbottom on Forget about Me , prior to Revolution Films being set up. This production led to his being brought in by Winterbottom and Eaton to work on Butterfly Kiss , Welcome to Sarajevo , The Claim , 24 Hour Party People , Code 46 (2003) and A Cock and Bull Story (2006). Winterbottom has used three principal directors of photography across his features. These are Marcel

in Michael Winterbottom
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Doing what you want to do
Brian McFarlane and Deane Williams

upper end of the scale, The Claim was budgeted at an estimated $20m, 7 Welcome to Sarajevo cost $9m, and Code 46 , with far-flung location work (China, India, United Arab Emirates, London, Hong Kong), was brought in for $7,500,000, while the opulent-looking A Cock and Bull Story cost only $2,800,000. At the other end of the scale, In This World , 9 Songs and The Road to Guantánamo were made for, respectively, $1

in Michael Winterbottom
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Brian McFarlane and Deane Williams

Waite, who edited the Cracker episode and went on to cut Family and all the features up to and including 24 Hour Party People (2002); Janty Yates, from Cracker , who designed costumes for three of his 1990s films ( Jude , 1996; Welcome to Sarajevo , 1997; With or Without You , 1999); and actors such as Christopher Eccleston, Kieran O’Brien and Kika Markham, all in the Cracker episode, appear in several subsequent

in Michael Winterbottom
Brian McFarlane and Deane Williams

as Welcome to Sarajevo or The Claim ; its interests are intensely personal, not overtly political as in films such as In This World or The Road to Guantánamo ; it is an original story, not adapted from a well-known novel as Jude or A Cock and Bull Story were; it doesn’t try to embrace the multiple narrative strands of, say, Wonderland . If the ‘made-for-television’ descriptor implies focus

in Michael Winterbottom
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Spanish alienation in a foreign landscape
Ann Davies

as part of the United Nations peacekeeping forces, formed the basis for a small cluster of European war films such as No Man’s Land (Nikogarsnja zemlja, Danis Tanovich, 2001), Welcome to Sarajevo (Michael Winterbottom, 1997) and Pretty Village Pretty Flame (Lepa sela lepo gore, Sdrjan Dragojevich, 1996). Even Jean-Luc Godard drew on the conflict for his film Notre musique (Our Music, 2004). Guerreros also belongs to this group of films. This development coincided with a renewed interest in the war film from Hollywood. Despite the appearance of contemporary European

in Daniel Calparsoro
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Winterbottom and the English novel
Brian McFarlane and Deane Williams

once to the idea of a world view in which people are dwarfed by their circumstances, and in this matter many of Winterbottom’s films share an attitude with Hardy. (Think of the rescued child in Welcome to Sarajevo or the refugees in In This World , for examples.) Jude is bullied in the fields by the farmer for feeding the rooks he is meant to be dispersing, and there is a harsh image of a half-dozen dead birds hanging from

in Michael Winterbottom
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Brian McFarlane and Deane Williams

film ‘subtly blends real newsreel footage with fictional characters so that they all fit convincingly into the same shot’. 24 This formal strategy is not uncommon in Winterbottom’s work: others which make use of it include Welcome to Sarajevo , In This World and The Road to Guantánamo . In all of these the blurring of the reality and the re-enactment characterises his approach to known events or, in the case of filming

in Michael Winterbottom