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British Film: Swinging Britain 1963-1973

Rob Miller | Thursday November 06, 2014

Categories: A Level, EDUQAS A Level, EDUQAS AS, FM2, Section B: British Film Topics, Analysis, Film Analysis, Films & Case Studies, Non-Hollywood Films, Alfie, If, Genres & Case Studies, Comedy, Drama, Hot Entries

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FM2 Section B: British Film Topics – British Film and Culture

When we use the term ’British film and culture’ we are stating, or at least implying a connection between specific films and how they are partly, and in significant ways the product of a wider national cultural discourse and identity. In this context, a film can contribute to the way that a nation communicates messages and values about itself. In terms of film, these messages and values find expression in both the micro and macro elements of a film narrative.

In this resource we will consider a moment in the evolution of British popular film that reflects and represents a particular moment known as Swinging Britain (or sometimes as the Swinging Sixties or Swinging London) that offers us a version of British national identity, just as it did in its original moment. We will look at the films Alfie and If… Both of these films were made when Britain was entering a very strong economic period.

National identity then, is an ideological formulation and in his book Cultural Theory and Popular Culture, John Storey writes that “Ideology can refer to a systematic body of ideas articulated by a particular group of people.? [1]. He further explains that ideology can “indicate how some texts and practices present distorted images of reality.? [2] Another key concept to bring to our work states that audience response to a film text is both referential and critical. The term referential response means “an understanding that reads (a text) as if it were referring to reality.? [3] The term critical response means “an awareness of the constructed nature of the text.? [4] Almost unconsciously, when we watch a movie, we move back and forth between these conditions.

One of the key issues for students and scholars of film history and of film language is an ongoing consideration of the variety of ways in which cinema engages with representation. In...

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