CIN378Y0 British Screen Cultures: Exploring Difference

This course offers a critical study of British film and visual cultures, with an emphasis on films that explore “difference” from the 1960s to the present day, although earlier representative works, including early British colonial films and the British documentary movement, will provide a foundational base for a comparative study of contemporary British cinema. Major and minor film cultures will be studied in their institutional and social contexts, including the long-standing tradition of British realism; the Free Cinema Movement; the “New Wave;” “Swinging London;” “Thatcherite” cinema, including its heritage, art cinema, Brit grit and Black British iterations; and the recent “lad boy” underclass cycle that reconfigures the traditional conceptualization of British cinema in the strict oppositional terms of “realism or tinsel.”

Case studies of select Black British filmmakers who have extended their practice into an art gallery context will offer the opportunity to explore more expanded considerations of British screen culture. Debates pertinent to the way in which British cinema relates to an evolving sense of identity, toward debating the “Englishness” of British screen culture, will be highlighted. To this end, we will focus on how “difference” functions in British cinema, with an emphasis on questions of race, class, gender and sexuality. Not eligible for CR/ NCR option.

Prerequisites: CIN105YI or relevant social science or humanities-based academic preparation: English, History, Visual Studies, Art History, Anthropology, Women and Gender Studies, Sexual Diversity Studies, Political Science or Sociology. Due to the compressed nature of the course, and the necessity of written assignments, students in applied programs seeking to fulfill a humanities credit may find the course challenging.
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CIN378Y0 Course Outline

Field Trips: Excursions to London include visits to: the British Film Institute, Cinema Museum, Tate Britain, National Portrait Gallery and the Stanley Kubrick Archive (University of the Arts, London), among additional gallery visits. The cost of these trips is CAD$410, paid to U of T for all fees, guides and return bus transportation.

Instructor: Professor Banning teaches at the Cinema Studies Institute, University of Toronto. Her research and teaching focuses on screen alterity, focusing on minor cinemas and new media. She has a long-standing interest in the relationship between national cinemas and transnationalism, and has published extensively in the areas of Canadian and Black British cinemas and documentary media, most recently in the gallery context. She is a co-editor of an anthology on Canadian women’s cinema with University of Toronto Press, and a co-founder and co-editor of the journals CineAction and Borderlines. Her most recent publication (October 2017) is a catalogue essay on John Akomfrah’s exhibition Purple at The Curve, Barbican Gallery, London, UK.

Professor Banning has previously resided in the UK, and previous iterations of this course have received an enthusiastic response.

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