‘British Social Realism’ and ‘My Name is Joe’
1) Describe and problematise the aims of ‘realist’ cinema. Distinguish between the aspect of production, style and content.
“Works of realism, in this respect less reflect the real than construct versions of the real though the deployment of techniques and devices which are accepted by audiences as ‘realistic’.”
In the 1980’s British cinema was divided into two main types. On one hand a traditional also called ‘heritage’ cinema occupied with the past and on the other a more unorthodox and socially aware cinema concerned with the present called ‘realist cinema’. The concept of realism is a complicated one, the term implies an aesthetic practice which assumes a privileged relationship to an external reality, critical writing the subject has stressed the impossibility of any artistic work simply reflecting reality and the variability of the aesthetic means employed in showing the real. The history of British cinema shows that the claim to realism has traditionally depended upon a number of elements: A focus on ‘ordinary’ lives, rejections of the melodramatic and classical convention of mainstream Hollywood and the use of techniques which are associated with documentaries. This also implies the use of real locations that demonstrate the often grim actualities in which people live. The producer of ‘realism film’ also use natural lights and unadorned camera movements. The story is more important than the beauty of the movie. To show the audience the authenticity of the movie in realism film the actors are a mix of professional and non professional actors. The main content of social realism within Britain has been associated with the making visible of the working class and indeed it is not uncommon for realism almost by definition the representation of the industrial working class. The political message points out the fact that these problems exist but by focusing on...
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