British and American Film Studies

L395 — Spring 2020

Ranu Samantrai
Days and Times
2:30-5:00 MW
Course Description

TOPIC: “Men of the Nation”

Between 1945 and 2000 England’s great empire dissolved and its global power dramatically diminished. How have its people adjusted to this rapid loss of status? Film brings history home by exploring how the lives of ordinary people are affected by public events. Our topic, masculinity and the nation, allows us to regard film as the hinge between public and private. We’ll organize our study chronologically to consider films that were influential in their time, and that now provide a window into that time. Our films will be selected from the work of prominent directors, including Charles Crichton, David Lean, Tony Richardson, Stephen Frears, and Robert Cattaneo. They cover significant movements in British cinema: the collapse of empire; the New Wave; the rise of the heritage industry; the angry children of Thatcher; and the transnational nation. Through them we'll discuss a range of genres, including the epic, social realism, historical costume drama, and the thriller. Students may expect frequent informal writing, one formal film analysis, and an oral presentation based on independent research.