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Author: Barry Jordan

Alejandro Amenábar has made only five main features over a 15-year period from 1995 to 2009. In 1995 he abandoned his Film Studies degree at Madrid's Complutense University in order to shoot Tesis (Thesis), his first feature. This book contains a brief biographical profile of Amenábar, but the main focus is a detailed analysis of his shorts, and the ways in which a set of templates and devices (stylistic, narrative and thematic) begin to emerge from them, as well as a series of working practices. It then provides detailed accounts of Amenábar's five feature films to date: Tesis, Abre los ojos, The Others, Mar adentro, and Ágora. Though the approaches adopted and the menu of topics vary in each chapter, the book seeks to combine important aspects of contextual information (historical, social, industrial) with detailed production and reception notes. It pays close attention to aspects of film form and style (e.g. the interplay in Tesis between classical Hollywood narration and 'art film narration'). The book explores the ways in which Amenábar appears to conduct experiments in generic hybridity to create a personal, auteur cinema which satisfies his cinephilia as well as his desire for ambiguity and profundity. At the same time, it demonstrates his commitment to the tastes and pleasures of film audiences. The study presented is guided in large part by questions already raised in scholarly writings on Amenábar, as well as other issues and evidence which have subsequently emerged.

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Author: Neil Sinyard

This book explores why Jack Clayton had made so few films and why most of them failed to find a large audience. It examines the kind of criticism they generated, sometimes adulatory but sometimes dismissive and even condescending. The book hopes to throw light on certain tendencies and developments within the film industry and of film criticism, the British film industry and film criticism in particular. The fact that Clayton's films fit David Bordwell's paradigm of the art film is one explanation why producers had difficulty with him and why mainstream cinema found his work hard to place and assimilate. Clayton's pictorial eye has sometimes antagonised critics: they often take exception to some aspect of his mise-en-scene. Clayton had come to prominence with Room at the Top, around the time of the British 'Free Cinema' movement and immediately prior to the so-called British 'new-wave' films of the early 1960s from directors such as Tony Richardson and John Schlesinger. Thorold Dickinson's evocation of the Russian atmosphere and, in particular, his use of suspenseful soundtrack to suggest ghostly visitation undoubtedly had an influence on Jack Clayton's style in both The Bespoke Overcoat and The Innocents. The critical controversy concerning the status of Jack Clayton as director and artist is probably at its most intense over The Pumpkin Eater. Clayton stressed the importance of an opening that established right away the situation of 'a woman in crisis' but wanted to delay the Harrods scene so as to build up an atmosphere of suspense.

Cultural politics and art films in post-war Britain
Katerina Loukopoulou

From its foundation in 1945, the Arts Council of Great Britain (Arts Council hereafter) endorsed cinema as a serious artistic medium, directly supporting and sponsoring art films for almost fifty years. In doing so, even on a much smaller scale by comparison to its support for the traditional fine arts of painting and sculpture, the Arts Council nurtured experiments in film form and shaped the careers of many independent film-makers in a manner that helped to develop a specialised strand of British art cinema from the 1960s onwards

in British art cinema
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British journeys
Paul Newland

, securing significant roles in shows such as Bless Me Father (LWT, 1979–81) and Potter (BBC, 1979–83). However, his career in cinema remained interesting and generically varied. The fact that Lowe worked in art films, comedies, sex comedies, mysteries and horror films again speaks of the essentially fragmented nature of 1970s British film production. For example, Lowe appears in If... (Lindsay Anderson, 1968); the realist adaptation of a stage play, Spring and Port Wine (Peter Hammond, 1969); the satires The Bed-Sitting Room (Richard Lester, 1969) and The Rise and Rise of

in British films of the 1970s
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Lonely passions - the cinema of Jack Clayton
Neil Sinyard

wonder Clayton found the experience of making it so traumatic. In fact, in trying to define the Clayton style, I was surprised to find how closely it corresponds in many respects to David Bordwell’s classic formulation of the mode of discourse of the art film. 20 Bordwell was writing mainly of what one might call the modernist masters of European cinema – Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, Jean

in Jack Clayton
Alfred Hitchcock and Anthony Asquith
Tom Ryall

film. What emerges is the notion of a hesitant cinema committed neither to the vigour of popular cinema nor to the sophistication of the ‘artfilm, and unduly dependent upon the traditional and more indigenously respectable cultural forms of literature and theatre for subject matter, themes, performance styles and so on. Certainly, in the 1920s, the powerful exemplars for the direction of cinema came from two broad sources. Firstly, from the abundance of titles produced by the fast-growing Hollywood industry which dominated British screens and provided the typical

in British art cinema
Barry Jordan

The Others began as a small-scale, art film project for the European market. The intended setting was Chile, Amenábar’s birthplace. The ambition was to explore the repressions of his childhood, especially the impact of religious dogma on family life and the education of children. Over time, however, the film was transformed into the most expensive, biggest-grossing, box-office hit in Spanish film

in Alejandro Amenábar
Karen Fricker

Plates, while also exploring his experimentation with the cinematic genres of thriller and art film in the smaller-scale works Polygraph and Needles and Opium. Tectonic Plates: melodramatic drift Plaques tectoniques/Tectonic Plates, created and toured between 1987 and 1991, was Lepage’s next major group-created show following on from the international success of The Dragon’s Trilogy. It furthered his desire to work with artists from other national backgrounds and to explore themes of travel and the relationships between cultures that were now informed by his own

in Robert Lepage’s original stage productions
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Jason Statham: star!

This book offers an investigative analysis into the post-millennium rise to global stardom of British actor, Jason Statham.

It presents original ideas focusing on new notions about film and cult actor stardom and celebrity. Using in-depth analysis of Statham’s work across a range of multimedia platforms, including chapters dedicated to his film, pop promo, videogaming and tabloid persona, each essay will present this British actor as a postmodern phenomenon in a quickly changing media world.

Chapters include: new ideas about the reframing of post-millennial British film masculinity; Statham as an anti-hero; his videogaming work; investigations into his art films; the music of Crank; Statham’s clothes in his modelling, pop promo and film work; work across a variety of genres; his ensemble approach in The Expendables, and how he ages in that franchise; and a personal essay from Statham’s director of Spy – Paul Feig.

The book is written in a fluid and approachable style but would be of particular benefit to students of film, stardom, celebrity, gender and social studies. Its approach will also appeal to the general member of the public and fan of Jason Statham.

Contributors include Professor Robert Shail (Stanley Baker and Children’s Film Foundation) Professor James Chapman (James Bond), Dr Steven Gerrard (Modern British Horror and the Carry On films) and Hollywood film director Paul Feig.

Creativity, experimentation and innovation
Paul Newland and Brian Hoyle

‘universal’ values of culture and art. This is reflected in the existence of international festivals, where distribution is sought for these films, and where their status as ‘art’ – and as films ‘to be taken seriously’ – is confirmed and re-stated through prizes and awards. Writing in 2013, David Andrews argued that art cinema should be considered a ‘sprawling super-genre [like] mainstream cinema or cult cinema’. 2 He elaborates, writing that this super-genre comprises all ‘traditional art films and (all) avant-garde movies, plus (all) the

in British art cinema