Realism and representations of the working class in contemporary British cinema.
This thesis examines the history of social realism and the representation of the working-class in contemporary British cinema. Opening with a critical history, of the political and social context of British social realist film-making since the 1960’s British New Wave era, it moves the grounds of the discussion to social realism in the 1980s and 1990s. The main chapters are dedicated to individual case studies. Three distinctive approaches are applied towards these case studies: the auteurist approach is applied to the works of Ken Loach, and exposes how his politics is reflected in the films, whilst revealing the consistency and changes of his approach towards the subject-matter. In the second chapter, the aesthetic approach is used to examine how the new trend of ‘social art-cinema’ affected the concept of social realism. It will discuss how social realism employs the style and aesthetic of art cinema, to enhance the subjective representation in the film. In the last chapter, the new subjective approach is used to study films that deal with the issue of asylum seekers, immigrants and immigration. This thesis will reveal the complexity and flexibility of the concept of social realism, by analysing its use in contemporary British cinema from these three perspectives. The significance of social realism is its ability to add to the film a sense of immediacy, a sense of ‘here and now’. It can enhance the objectivity of the film, or by integrating with art-cinema aesthetic, enhance the subjectivity of the issue. Social realism needs to be considered with the nature of the medium of cinema, to capture and reflect elements of the social-political structures which make up society.
- MPhil