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Julie Christie: British Film and Stars

jclarke | Tuesday February 11, 2014

Categories: A Level, EDUQAS A Level, EDUQAS AS, FM2, Section B: British Film Topics, Analysis, Film Analysis, Film Industry, Film Distribution, Film Marketing, Film Publicity, Film Promotion, Production Companies, Films & Case Studies, Non-Hollywood Films, Genres & Case Studies, British Film, Hot Entries, Key Concepts, Audience, Film Language, Representation, Theory, Film Theory

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While we often first think and refer to contemporary examples of film stars when we study film, it’s useful and valuable to consider film stars whose work has featured across several decades. More specifically for us as British audiences, it’s of particular interest to consider British film stars both in terms of the interest of their performances, and also in terms of how these performances offer representations of national identity and gender in combination. Stars are media texts that are encoded and can be decoded for their meanings and values. Film stars allow audiences to access emotional states, identify issues of gender, and deconstruct aspirational behaviour and situations.

Julie Christie is a major female British film star who has appeared in a wide range of films that have been released globally since the 1960s often to great critical success. Her career has combined performances in a range of lower budget feature films and work in higher budget productions and also event films released by major film studios. Christie is an Oscar winner (for the film Darling) and she continues to be synonymous with 1960s cinema. As recently as December 2013, Life Magazine in North America ran a feature online entitled ‘Life with Julie Christie: Rare Photos of a Sixties Movie Icon, 1966.’ You can reach the page here: If you read the captions under the images one of them is especially striking as Christie says that she has always felt more a European screen actress than a Hollywood one - it’s a meaningful distinction. Indeed, if it’s any kind of testament to the iconic value of a film star to have a song named for them, then Julie Christie qualifies. Christie is arguably the antecedent to contemporary British female film stars Keira Knightley, Rachel Weisz and Kate Winslet. Given the success of these films it may be...

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