Space, place and realism: Red road and the gendering of a cinematic history

Thornham, Sue (2016) Space, place and realism: Red road and the gendering of a cinematic history. Feminist Media Histories, 2 (2). pp. 133-154. ISSN 2373-7492

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John Hill has described the way in which the male-centred narratives of British ‘working-class films’ of the 1980s and 1990s mobilise the idea of working-class community as ‘a metaphor for the state of the nation’. Writing on films of the same period by women directors, Charlotte Brunsdon deems it more difficult to see these films as representations ‘of the nation’. There are, she writes, ‘real equivocations in the fit between being a woman and representing Britishness’.
This article explores this issue, arguing that the history of British cinema to which Hill’s chapter contributes is not only bound up with a particular sense of British national identity but founded on a particular conception, and use, of space and place. Taking Andrea Arnold’s Red Road (2006) as its case study, it asks what it is about this sense of space and place that excludes women as subjects, rendering their stories outside and even disruptive of the tradition Hill describes. Finally, drawing on feminist philosophy and cultural geography, it suggests ways in which answering these questions might also help us think about the difficult questions raised by Jane Gaines in a number of articles, around how we might think together feminist film theory and film history.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Social realism, British cinema, space, place, women’s cinema
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
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Depositing User: Sue Thornham
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2016 13:32
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2019 02:33

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