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Nostalgia in the British Cinema: The Significance of Nostalgia in the Social Realist Filmmaking Tradition with a Focus on the Work of Shane Meadows

Kellett, Lewis (2017) Nostalgia in the British Cinema: The Significance of Nostalgia in the Social Realist Filmmaking Tradition with a Focus on the Work of Shane Meadows. Masters thesis, York St John University.

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Abstract

This thesis explores how British social realist films are framed in relation to the past, with a significant focus on the work of Shane Meadows. In this explorative study, the choice to use nostalgia to interrogate the British social realism is motivated by the contemporary cultural trend of the nostalgic mode. Fredric Jameson has suggested that ‘everything in our culture suggests that we have not ceased to be preoccupied with history’ (1992: 282). Jameson’s sentiments can be seen through countless reflections of the past through many forms of media and countless film genres, including that of the social realist style and Meadows’ work. Using the research methodologies of thematic and close analysis through a selection of social realist films, this thesis examines, not only why and how social realist filmmakers, including Meadows have framed their films in relation to moments of history or past styles, but observes said past and filmmaking in terms of what Melanie Williams states as ‘morbid nostalgia’. This thesis covers many areas: a definition of social realism, the nostalgic mode and its relationship with social realist texts, a case study of This is England (2006) and finally social realism and nostalgia’s place on television.

The conclusion of this thesis demonstrates how contemporary society provokes filmmakers to seek the past as a place of comfort to only discover that the past is just as bad as the present fulfilling Williams contention of morbid nostalgia. This thesis further concludes that for Meadows, this nostalgia runs contrary to conventional wisdom in that it is not, for him, a heartening and hopeful feeling but one which has led him to present what has been quite effectively termed, a morbidity of nostalgia.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Status: Unpublished
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
School/Department: School of Humanities, Religion & Philosophy
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/3284

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