Category Archives: Scottish Cinema

Recent research on British cinema

This week some articles on British cinema that have appeared over the past 18 months, with a particular nod to Scottish cinema.

Brown S 2011 ‘Anywhere but Scotland?:’ transnationalism and new Scottish cinema, International Journal of Scottish Theatre and Screen 4 (1): http://journals.qmu.ac.uk/index.php/IJOSTS/article/view/109/pdf.

Fifteen years on from the moment that Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting (1996) fulfilled the promise of his earlier Shallow Grave (1994) and helped to launch what has become known as New Scottish Cinema, the critical debates which have accompanied its development find themselves at a crossroads. Prompted in part by the New Scottish Cinema symposium, which took place in Ireland in 2005 and looked back over 20 years of Scottish film, key writers have begun to critically assess the arguments which have circulated and to refashion the debate for the future. Initial models focussing upon the influences of first American and then European cinema have proved themselves to be inflexible in locating New Scottish Cinema within a global cinema marketplace, and furthermore have privileged a certain type of film, influenced by European art cinema traditions, as being representative of Scottish cinema to the exclusion of other more commercial projects. Not only is this ironic considering the inherently commercial nature of both Trainspotting and Shallow Grave, but also it had led to a vision of Scottish film which is more European than Scottish; more international than national.

Claydon EA 2011 National identity, the GPO Film Unit and their music, in S Anthony and J Mansell (eds) The Projection of Britain: A History of the GPO Film Unit. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan: NB: This is an abstract of the full chapter.

The GPO films, seminal as they were in helping to construct the British social realist movement, are as much remembered for their sound worlds as their visual properties. Whether it is the crackling audio of the ensembles who played, or the (to our ears) richly evocative accents of the narrators, or the adventurous musical soundtracks, the sound worlds of the Empire Marketing Board, GPO and Crown Film Units are utterly textural and utterly of their time and place. This timbre is largely the effect of Alberto Calvancanti‟s aesthetic, but it is also a reflection of the range of composers and filmmakers employed by the Unit. In this chapter, I shall focus upon the way in which Benjamin Britten and W. H. Auden‟s sonic collage in Night Mail created and reinforced concepts of national identity and place and how the use of sound in Humphrey Jennings‟ Spare Time established a semiotic musical sense of British identity by engaging with popular forms, a mode which he would later develop in Listen to Britain. These are films which are much discussed and much loved, but for that same reason, it is worthwhile to step back, to distance ourselves somewhat and to re-examine the elements we can take for granted: what we hear that we know too well. Consequently, this chapter situates the development of a documentary „national soundtrack‟ within it specific cultural and artistic contexts.

Fukaya K (2012) Quota quickies – British B movie’s narrative style and the problem of nationality in the 1930s, GEIBUN: Bulletin of the Faculty of Art and Design, University of Toyama 6: 124-131.

This paper will explore the meaning and function of a narrative style in the 1930s British film culture constructing national consciousness. Around 1930, the British government and film industry tried to protect themselves from the excessive amount of Hollywood films imported from the United States, and to reconstruct the national film culture. The paper will reconsider the idea of national cinema, especially from cultural perspective, and examine the roles of narrative in the creation of nationally conscious films.

Goode I (2011) Cinema in the country: the rural cinema scheme – Orkney (1946-67), Post Script: Essays in Film and the Humanities 30 (2): 17-31.

The act of transporting cinema to and exhibiting films for the rural communities of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland has attracted a fair amount of press attention at home and abroad recently (“Box Office”). This is partly due to the events pioneered by the British actress Tilda Swinton and the writer and critic Mark Cousins. This began with the film festival The Ballerina Ballroom Cinema of Dreams held in Nairn on the north east coast of Scotland in 2008, followed a year later by A Pilgrimage which involved tugging a mobile cinema along an exhibition route from Fort Augustus to Nairn incorporating Loch Ness. These initiatives and less publicized others, such as The Small Islands Film Festival (2007-2009), are born of a passionate desire to not only take a preferred vision of cinema to selected areas of rural Scotland, but also, to offer potential audiences a different cinema-going experience by challenging what might be considered the norms of film exhibition.

Hand C and Judge G (2012) Searching for the picture: forecasting UK cinema admissions making use of Google Trends data, Applied Economics Letters 19 (11): 1051-1055.

This paper investigates whether Google Trends search information can improve forecasts of cinema admissions, over and above those based on seasonal patterns in the data. Using monthly data for the UK for the period 2004(1) to 2008(12) we examine various forecasting models that incorporate Google Trends search information. We find clear evidence that Google Trends data on searches relevant to cinema visits do have the potential to increase the accuracy of cinema admissions forecasting models. There is also some evidence to suggest that Google Trends indexes based on combined information from searches using a number of different search terms work better than those based on only a single keyword. The results also appear to confirm earlier findings that the UK cinema admissions series is more suitably modelled by the use of fixed seasonal dummies than through autoregressive formulations.

Wilks L 2012 ‘Boys don’t like girls for funniness:’ raunch culture and the British tween film, Networking Knowledge 5 (1): http://ojs.meccsa.org.uk/index.php/netknow/article/view/249.

This paper discusses representations of teenage girls in three contemporary British film productions or co-productions, aimed at the “tween” market (defined as nine to fourteen year old females). Such texts are examined in the context of a British equivalent of ‘raunch culture’ (Levy, 2006), a strand of postfeminism that I propose characterises the decade in which they were released. The films engage with contemporary debates regarding the media’s alleged sexualising impact on tweens and the body ideals it impresses upon them. Drawing on McRobbie’s notion of ‘double entanglement’ (2009), I consider their negotiations of a conflict between sexuality and a perception of childhood innocence, which produces contradictory interpellations of their teenage female characters. While the films to some extent critique the perception that investment in raunch culture “empowers” teenage girls, elements of the texts also simultaneously celebrate the commodified young woman’s body, inciting cultural anxieties about the ways tweens are represented. All three films depict girls’ attempts at embodying a ‘postfeminist masquerade’ (McRobbie, 2009) of excessive femininity as a means to (faux) empowerment. I argue that this apparent “empowerment” is particularly hollow for tweens, their actions simply reinforcing patriarchal norms that envisage females as nothing but objects.

Williams S 2011 Between a Rock and Hard Place: Space, Gender and Hierarchy in British Gangland Film, University of Hertfordshire, unpublished PhD Thesis.

A principal aim of this research has been to establish the capacity of British Gangland film to articulate its era of production through the cinematic interpretation of contemporary concerns and anxieties in narratives relating to the criminal underworld. In order to do so, the study has concentrated on the analysis of space, gender and hierarchy within representative generic texts produced between 1945 and the present. The thesis is divided into three sections: the first offers a general overview of British Gangland film from the 65 years under discussion with the aim of identifying recurring generic patterns and motifs. The second and third sections are more specifically focused, their chapters examining the narrative significance and development of the male and the female protagonist respectively. Within the films under discussion, the relationship between these protagonists and their environment represents a fundamental generic component, resulting in an emphasis on space and place. Space within these narratives is inherently territorial, and thus irrevocably bound up with hierarchies of power. The predominantly urban locations in which the narratives are set represent a twilight world, a demi-monde, which is rarely neutral but dominated by the patriarchal order structuring the notion of ‘Gangland’. Such spaces are therefore inextricably linked with gender, hierarchy, and dynamic power relations. Whilst it would have been possible to explore each of these areas in isolation through specifically relevant theoretical perspectives, their interdependence is central to this study. Consequently, a holistic theoretical approach has facilitated analysis of the symbiotic relationship between the three key elements of space, gender and hierarchy and the processes involved in the generation of meaning: this has resulted in a reading of British Gangland film as cultural artefact, reflecting its circumstances of production.

Research on the British film industry

This week a collection of works on the British film industry from an economic perspective. It is easy to find articles by economists on the Hollywood film industry, but there appears to much less available if you want to look at the film industry in the UK. What analysis of filmmaking in the UK there is rarely makes it into film studies publications, and so hopefully this list will get people to cross over and to take ideas and data from one arena into the other. It is worth taking a moment to reflect for a moment that so much research is focused on the analysis of film production, which does not make much sense in a distribution-led industry. This is also a problem for film policy in the UK, which focuses almost exclusively on production measures (tax incentives, subsidies for filmmakers) without addressing the issue of distribution. But then for policy makers, like film scholars, production is sexy and distribution isn’t.

As ever, the version available on line may be a pre-print of a finished article so make sure you check before citing anything.

First, Robin MacPherson at Napier University has recently made his latest research available here. (This can also apparently be accessed through Napier’s research respository, but it didn’t work when I tried it).

MacPherson R 2010 Is bigger better? Film success in small countries – the case of Scotland, Ireland and Denmark.

ABSTRACT

Small European countries with low levels of film production might be expected to suffer from diseconomies of scale and other structural disadvantages that would tend to produce a lower ratio of ‘hits’ to ‘flops’ than larger countries. Analysis of Scottish, Irish and Danish data suggests that, despite significantly different levels of production, the distribution of ‘hits’ is in fact very similar and consistent with the Paretian distribution of audiences and revenues in major markets such as the United States and others. The skewed distribution of cinema audiences in Scotland, Ireland and Denmark appears to confirm the ‘scale independent’ importance of a small number of unpredictable highperforming ‘outliers’ in determining total and average audience/revenues. Analysis of overall production levels and aggregate audience share for domestic films in several small countries reveals a correlation that emerges once production exceeds a critical level. A predictive model of how revenues are distributed as production levels increase is tested. The implications of a consistent pattern of film success for film funding policy in small countries are discussed and avenues for further research suggested.

Blair H 2003 Winning and losing in flexible labour markets: the formation and operation of networks of interdependence in the UK film industry, Sociology 37 (4): 677-694.

Elliot C and Simmons R 2008 Determinants of UK box office success: the impact of quality signals, Review of Industrial Organisation, 33 (2): 93-111.

This paper analyses the roles of various quality signals in the demand for cinema attendance in the United Kingdom. Estimation of a three-stage least squares model with data for 527 films released in the United Kingdom shows that the impacts of advertising and critical reviews on box office revenues vary both in channels and magnitudes of impact. Our model treats total advertising as endogenous, alongside the number of opening screens and total box office revenues, while critical reviews are considered exogenous. Our results show that total advertising affects total box office revenue while responding endogenously to critical reviews.

Gornostaeva G 2008 The film and television industry in London’s suburbs: lifestyle of the rich or losers’ retreat?, Creative Industries Journal 1 (1): 47-71.

Nachum L and Keeble D 1999 A Marshallian approach to the eclectic paradigm of foreign investment: the clustering of film TNCS in central London, ESRC Centre for Business Research, Working Paper 119. (This seems to take a long time to download, and being impatient I right-clicked and and downloaded the file using ‘Save link as …’ This may also be the case for other papers from the ESRC centre at Cambridge).

Nachum L and Keeble D 2000 Foreign and indigenous firms in the media cluster of central London, ESRC Centre for Business Research, Working Paper 154.

Pratt AC 2007 ‘Imagination can be a damned curse in this country:’ material geographies of filmmaking and the rural, in R Fish (ed.) Cinematic Countrysides. Manchester: Manchester University Press: 127-46.

Pratten S and Deakin S 1999 Competitiveness policy and economic organisation: the case of the British film industry, ESRC Centre for Business Research, Working Paper 127.

Tirtaine C 2007 Évolution des relations entre État et cinéma au Royaume-Uni (1979-2005), Revue LISA/LISA e-journal 5 (1): http://lisa.revues.org/index1521.html. (NB: this article is in French).

A government can adopt two different stances regarding its domestic film industry. It may choose to support and protect it because of its cultural remit – or it may treat it like any other industry and adopt a laissez-faire attitude and let market forces determine its fate. The latter stance was adopted by the Thatcher government, which abolished the support system and protectionist measures from which British film had benefited for decades and granted it only few subsidies. The government severed almost all the existing links between the film industry and the State. These non-interventionist policies undoubtedly contributed to the dramatic drop in the number of British films produced and the chronic difficulties which the film industry experienced in the 1980s. The relationships between the government and the film industry have since changed considerably. The creation of the Film Council and the existence of a Film Minister within the government have definitely contributed to reinstating a dialogue between the industry and the government. State support in favour of film has increased dramatically in the past decade, with the introduction of tax incentives and new subsidies, which mostly derive from National Lottery revenues. The State’s investment in film is thus mainly indirect and it is clear that the government, by supporting British cinema, has in mind not only its contribution to the country’s culture but also to its economy. By changing the legal definition of a British film in order to entice into the UK foreign investors who want to benefit from attractive tax incentives, the government triggered an increase in the number of co-productions and foreign films shot in the UK – at the risk of undermining the identity of British cinema, and thus, the country’s culture.

Finally, to turn to Hollywood W.D. Walls’ list of publications of his research, much of it co-authoured with Andy De Vany and most of it freely available, can be accessed here, and is an example of an economic approach to distribution that is sadly lacking when we turn to British cinema.

Trainspotting (Danny Boyle, 1996)

Adapted from Irvine Welsh’s novel of the same name (Welsh 1994), Trainspotting follows the lives of a group of friends in Edinburgh: the heroin addicts Renton, Spud, Sick Boy, Tommy, and the violent Begbie. Trainspotting has been held up as an example of a ‘new Scottish cinema,’ which leaves behind the stereotypes of tartanry and kailyardism imposed by filmmakers from outside the region, embraces urban and contemporary Scotland, and is the product of a definitively Scottish film industry. However, Trainspotting presents a number of challenges to the ideal of a Scottish cinema and the Scottishness that it represents that have been proposed by critics such as Martin McLoone (2001) and Colin McArthur (1982). In Ewa Mazierska and Laura Rascaroli’s opinion, Trainspotting ‘not only breaks with many traits typical of earlier cinematic representations of Scotland, but also demonstrates the difficulties of constructing a discourse conveying a new Scottish identity, which is meant to replace the old Tartan and Kailyard stereotypes’ (2003: 186). In this post I argue that these difficulties are overcome by Renton’s acceptance of a British identity that does not eradicate his Scottishness.

Though the film principally follows Renton’s attempts to quit heroin and to escape the negative influence of his ‘friends,’ it also tracks Tommy, Spud, and Sick Boy and links the characters through interweaving storylines. In allowing different versions the same story to be told the film shifts narrators: for example, in the telling of the different versions of the fight at the pool hall the film shifts between Renton’s narration of life among the group, Begbie’s self-serving recollection, and Tommy’s own memory. Diane also takes on a narrative role as a letter writer. The night-club sequence in Edinburgh crosscuts between Tommy and Spud’s, and Lizzie and Gail’s differing versions of the same conversations, and at the end of the night the syuzhet splits to follow three couples (Renton and Diane, Tommy and Lizzie, Spud and Gail) as they embark on their ill-fated sexual adventures. Unlike the other films discussed here, the group is shown as highly fragmented, leaving the unifying space of the night-club as they go their separate ways, and this highlights Renton’s alienation from his own surroundings. In the night-club he is shown standing to one side of the room while his friends mix on the dance floor, and the highly conscious use of Renton as narrator emphasises his distance from his peers:

The situation was becoming serious. Young Renton noticed the haste with which the successful in the sexual sphere, as in all others, segregated themselves from the failures. Heroin had robbed Renton of his sex drive but now it returned with a vengeance. And as the impotence of those days faded into memory, grim desperation took a hold in his sex-crazed mind. His post-junk libido fuelled buy alcohol and amphetamine taunted him remorselessly with his own unsatisfied desire – dot, dot, dot.

This voice-over heightens Renton’s isolation by having him refer to himself in the third person, and also its literary quality, with the emphasis placed on the spoken ellipsis, signals his dual role as both a participant in the narrative action and as an observer looking in from the outside. The duration of this sequence is clearly indicated, moving from the night-club to the next morning, but in general Trainspotting lacks a defined time frame. For example, we do not know what the duration of the fabula is, how long Renton has been in London, or the amount of time that passes between Tommy experimenting with heroin and his death. Though the syuzhet is basically linear, with some flashbacks and some flashforwards, the structure of the film is episodic. The pool hall sequence, for example, jumps from the present to Begbie’s version of the past, to the future in which Tommy gives his version of events, and back to the present without specifying how much time has passed between the three elements of this sequence.

Like the hybrid films Sarah Street (1997) identifies as being ‘British’ in the 1980s, Trainspotting also cuts across genres mixing realism with fantasy, offering the characters what Murray Smith describes as ‘the redemption of material impoverishment through aesthetic transformation.’ In Smith’s view, the film ‘depicts poverty realistically, but in a way that encompasses the possibility of escape as well as entrapment,’ and in exploiting the aesthetics of film draws ‘a kind of vitality from grinding poverty’ (2002: 33). However, this redemption through aesthetics is not achievable in Scotland and is only fulfilled in the film’s London sequences. The episode in ‘the worst toilet in Scotland’ exposes the distance between Renton’s fantasy and his reality. Entering the rear of the betting shop he imagines a ‘massive pristine convenience. Brilliant gold taps, virginal white marble, a seat carved from ebony, a cistern full of Chanel No. 5, and a flunky handing me pieces of raw silk toilet roll.’ What he actually finds is far from this ideal image, and the sheer ugliness of the toilet is contrasted with the lagoon Renton enters into to recover his opium suppositories. Later, the film uses this distinction between the real and the unreal to represent the horror of Renton’s withdrawal. In Scotland fantasy is related to the use of heroin as a means of transforming the dullness of the real world into heightened sensory experience, but what redemption may be achieved is only temporary, and can be equally euphoric or traumatic. In London this heightened sensory experience is manifest in the depiction of the city as an ideal space, and with its fast cutting, pumping soundtrack, bright colours, and excess of information made available to the viewer the film provides the sensory overload that has previously been associated with heroin. Unlike heroin, the redemption offered by London is permanent and without drawbacks.

Scottishness is not displayed in an ostentatious way, and it has been noted that Trainspotting fails to display the tourist attractions of Edinburgh on screen (Street 1997: 197-199). Instead, Scottishness is portrayed as something that is banal. Michael Billig has developed the idea of banal nationalism to,

cover the ideological habits which enable the established nations of the West to be reproduced. … these habits are not removed from everyday life, as some observers have supposed. Daily, the nation is indicated, or ‘flagged,’ in the lives of its citizenry. Nationalism, far from being an intermittent mood in established nations, is the endemic condition (Billig 1995: 6).

Billig argues that in established nations, the ‘metonymic image of banal nationalism is not a flag which is being consciously waved with a fervent passion; it is the flag hanging unnoticed on the public building’ (Billig 1995: 8). In Trainspotting it is the regional identity of Scotland that is represented as being banal, and this stands in stark contrast to the hot nationalism – ‘an extraordinary, emotional mood striking at extraordinary times’ (Billig 1995: 44) – of Britishness that is evident in the exhibitionist display of London later in the film.

The regional specificity of the film is established through the Scottish accents of the characters and the subtle use of mise-en-scène. The characters converse in Scottish accents and Scottish slang, and in the night-club sequence in Scotland Spud and Tommy’s conversation is subtitled, emphasising its distinctiveness and the difficulty non-Scottish audiences have in understanding Scottish accents. When Tommy describes Lizzie’s anger at him forgetting her birthday, he states that she was upset ‘big time, absolutely fuckin’ raj,’ but this is subtitled as ‘very.’ The five-a-side game at the beginning of the film sees Renton and Begbie wearing green and white shirts in homage to one of the Edinburgh teams, Hibernian, and as Renton endures his horrific withdrawal Hibs pennants and rosettes adorn the walls of his bedroom. This clearly indicates that the characters share their allegiance with a particular part of Edinburgh and that they are a part of the city’s catholic community, but the value of this allegiance is doubtful. The shabby state of their kit echoes their economic marginalisation and low-rent lifestyle, and this is juxtaposed with the considerably more talented and more organised opposition in their blue kit. Significantly, Begbie’s Hibs shirt is a replica in the style of the 1960s, and in reflecting the mid-1990s craze for ‘classic’ football shirts this links him to a nostalgic vision of the past. The childish nature of Renton’s room, being at his parent’s home with its train-patterned wallpaper, indicates that Renton is stuck in his youth. Taken together this suggests that Scottishness is holding Renton back. Smith (2002: 24) notes that Renton’s replacement of Tommy’s sex tape with a football video links the passion for football with sexual ecstasy, but Renton’s observation that he has not felt that good since Archie Gemmill scored against Holland in the 1978 World Cup suggests that Scottish glories lie in the past. Renton, Begbie, et al. cannot escape the Scottishness that is a part of their everyday existence, but that Scottishness is represented as economically poor, infantalising, and trapped in a nostalgic discourse of popular culture in Scotland. Heroin represents an escape from this life: it is Renton’s forced withdrawal that returns him to his childhood bedroom, and, as he states, there is no need to worry about ‘some football team that never fuckin’ wins’ when you’ve got heroin. Heroin represents an escape from Scotland, and unlike most of the films here, the source of Renton’s alienation is not London but is the idea of Scottishness itself in the 1980s. In fact, Renton’s observation that the ‘downside of coming off junk was I knew I would have to mix with my friends again, in a state of full consciousness,’ and his decision to take one final hit on the way to the big drug deal in the company of Spud, Sick Boy, and Begbie suggests that heroin is the only way with which he can cope with Scottishness.

The idea of a Scottish national identity is challenged throughout the film. The ‘official’ tourist ideal of Scotland is removed from the everyday experiences of the characters, and Renton expresses the rejection of ‘official’ Scotland in the film’s most famous sequence as he, Tommy, Spud, and Sick Boy visit the highlands. Gesturing to the mountain, Tommy appeals to their sense of national pride (Figure 1):

Tommy: Doesn’t it make you proud to be Scottish?

Renton: It’s shite being Scottish. We’re the lowest of the low; the scum o’ the fuckin’ earth. The most wretched, miserable, servile, pathetic trash that was ever shat into civilisation. Some people hate the English – I don’t, they’re just wankers. We on the other hand were colonised by wankers; can’t even find a decent culture to be colonised by. We’re ruled by effete arseholes; it’s a shite state of affairs to be in, Tommy, and all the fresh air in the world won’t make any fuckin’ difference.

In Edinburgh the addicts typically walk from one place to another, but to reach the highlands they take a train and this shows that it is a part of Scotland that is physically removed from their lives and that an exceptional effort has to be made. The strangeness of this environment is evident in Sick Boy’s demands for instruction on arrival (‘Now What?’), and his shock at Tommy’s suggestion they go for a walk (‘Are you serious?’). The silence and tranquillity of the Scottish mountains is a feature of advertising campaigns to attract tourists to Scotland, and in this context represents ‘hot’ nationalism masquerading as the everyday. However, Spud’s observation that the landscape is ‘not natural’ signals the remoteness of this idea of Scotland from the housing scheme the characters inhabit in Edinburgh, and points to the fact that ‘Scotland’ is a construction that marginalises many Scots. In one sequence an American tourist enters a pub, and asks to use the toilet and simply assumes their compliance without waiting for a reply. Once in the toilet he is repeatedly assaulted and robbed, and the value of tourism to the Scottish economy is to be found, as far as Renton and Begbie are concerned, in the opportunity for crime to fuel their addictions.

Figure 1 ‘Doesn’t it make you proud to be Scottish?’ The tourist vision of Scotland that is rejected by Renton

As Renton and Spud run through the streets of Edinburgh having shoplifted from John Menzies they pass in front of the National Gallery of Scotland. By dividing the screen aesthetically, a long shot represents the relationship between the life of the Renton and Spud, and of ‘official’ Scotland as being distinct and separate: the gallery stands impassive in the background, static and oblivious to the action before it, while the two addicts sprint across the foreground. The vertical columns of the gallery echo the vertical lines of the title shot, of the flats as Renton walks to the betting shop, and of the group as tourists in the Highlands and the mountain itself. In all these sequences the horizontal cuts across the vertical, indicating that Renton’s life is on a different axis, and the static, frontal camera further suggests that this state of affairs will not (can not?) change.

Whether it is the heroin addicts, Begbie’s pursuit of violence for its own sake, or Renton’s mother, whose use of valium renders her a ‘socially acceptable’ addict, everyone in Trainspotting is addicted to something. It is something that is endemic to Scotland, and Scottishness itself may be interpreted as an addiction, which like heroin affords a means of escaping the reality of the council estates, underemployment, and social exclusion. The un-naturalness of the highlands is one example of how the ‘real’ problems of Scotland may be elided through an unquestioned belief in an image of Scotland. The addictive quality of Scottishness is also evident in Sick Boy’s obsession with Sean Connery as James Bond, which as Renton observes is hardly a substitute for the former’s lack of moral fibre. At one point, Sick Boy plays the role of heroin addict as secret agent with his works concealed in the heel of his shoe. Connery, as a signifier of Scottishness, is shown to be inherently corrupt, and in Sick Boy’s opinion is not to be viewed as inherently better to the rest of Edinburgh but as a part of the same world. He rejects the hypothesis that Ursula Andress represents Connery’s superiority, arguing that ‘if she’s shagged one punter from Edinburgh, she shagged the whole fucking lot of us.’ Sick Boy venerates Connery but it doing so he debases Connery’s iconic power by reducing him to just another ‘punter’ from Edinburgh.

Renton’s ultimate escape from heroin and from Scottishness lies in London. The representation of London is stylistically excessive: where there is an absence of images of Edinburgh we are treated to a deluge of images of London. The capital is represented through a series of tourist images (Tower Bridge, Carnaby Street, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square), and the use of the familiar signifiers of Britishness (black cabs, London buses). The representation of London is not constructed along the lines of the vertical and the horizontal that we have become used to in representing Edinburgh: Big Ben and Nelson’s Column jut in from the side of the screen at unusual angles, and rather than remaining static the camera twists and move around these well-known landmarks so that they are at once familiar and exotic (Figure 2). Unlike the relentless gloom of Edinburgh, London is shown in bright daylight; and where the former is dominated by a grey and brown colour scheme the latter is dominated by the vivid of red of the buses or the doorman’s coat and the metallic shine of the Lloyd’s building. This sequence represents an image of a British city that is marked by its multiculturalism, and includes shots Pearly Kings and Queens, tourists, a group of bikers, and of a black man playing a steel drum. This last shot implies that in modern Britain issues of colonisation can be overcome to create an inclusive community that inhabits a single space. Similarly, there is also a place for distinctive subcultures (the bikers), and the shots of the Pearly King and Queen places them on a London bus indicating that the distinctive regional cultures of the UK can be accommodated within the nation. Whereas Edinburgh is marked by its cultural homogeneity – all the Scottish characters are of the same ethnic and class grouping, and all hail from the same council estate on the margins of the city, London is a hybrid city. It is also a unified city – in the absence shots of the city from the air or panoramic views from the city’s highpoints Trainspotting does not define the overall space of Edinburgh, whereas the map that dominates the wall of the estate agents gives us a sense of the size and scale of London as a single entity.

Figure 2 Big Ben juts into the screen at an unusual angle

The image of Britishness that we are presented with is one that is open to all forms of identity, even Scottishness – Renton simply moves to London and gets a job with apparently no trouble at all. Despite his Scottish accent, he has no trouble in being understood. Renton takes a job as an estate agent, and this has two significant aspects. First, he is engaged in the selling of space. Unlike Edinburgh, where Renton’s experience of interior spaces is through squalor, drug use, faeces, boredom, and terror, as an estate agent he emphasises the positive aspects of London spaces and the opportunities they offer. Even his name, Renton, implies an intimate connection with the appropriation of space as aspirational. Second, he is shown to be participating and benefiting from the 1980s property boom. Trainspotting is thus perhaps only the second British film, alongside Chariots of Fire (Hugh Hudson, 1981), to present a favourable image of the United Kingdom in the Thatcher era. Renton’s experiences as a drug addict are even beneficial to him in London: he describes addiction as a ‘full-time business,’ though this business consists of breaking into cars, stealing televisions for elderly care homes, shoplifting, and mugging tourists, and one of the attractions of life in London is that it requires the same skills of cheating and scamming. In presenting an image of London that is very different to the idea that Scotland is ruled by ‘effete arseholes,’ the narrow view of Scottish nationalism is revealed to be based on a misconception of the English, whose openness contradicts their colonising image. This openness is founded on the recognition of diversity and the possibility of integrating this diverse community into a wider identity of Britishness.

The backward provincialism of Scottishness is evident once Sick Boy and Begbie arrive at Renton’s flat in London. They represent the dead-end vision of Scotland that Renton is trying to escape. The presence of Begbie restricts Renton’s ability to ‘choose life:’ ‘The guy’s a psycho, but it’s true – he’s a mate and all, so what can you do.’ Sick Boy sells Renton’s television, the symbol of his decision to choose life. The tribal identification of the group of addicts has become a hindrance and prevents Renton from improving his life. The film plays on the cliché of the provincial boy (Begbie) arriving in the big city, picking up a beautiful woman, only to find to his disgust that ‘she’ turns out to be a transvestite. Unlike Begbie, who remains trapped in the ‘glorious’ past of Archie Gemmill’s Scotland, Renton has moved on and recognises the exciting possibilities of living in a city that his home to a fluid, hybrid, and multicultural community. He states that, ‘the world is changing. Music is changing. Drugs are changing. Even men and women are changing. One thousand years from now they’ll be no guys and no girls – just wankers. Sounds great to me.’ The observation that in the future they will be ‘just wankers’ raises the issue of his ‘shite being Scottish’ rant. The earlier sequence has been interpreted as a wholesale rejection of both Scottishness and Englishness, but Renton’s observation that such a future sounds great sees him reject Englishness as a force of colonialism and accept the multicultural Britishness of London.

Renton’s decision at the end of the film to rip off his ‘friends’ marks his final acceptance of Britishness. He initially tries to isolate himself from the world, again returning to the interior world of the heroin addict, and claims that there ‘was no such thing as society, and even if there was I most certainly had nothing to do with it,’ but he is soon becoming integrated into London life. Sick Boy asks Renton if he wants to sell his passport, which the latter immediately refuses and feels sufficiently threatened by to place his passport in a storage locker. In protecting his passport he protects his British identity and his means of escaping the Scotland Sick Boy and Begbie represent. Renton’s use of heroin to escape Scotland is thus replaced with his acceptance of Britishness. At the end of the film, London is presented in the early morning haze as Renton flees his friends for the last time, and this shot gives an impressionistic view of the capital that recalls Claude Monet’s paintings of Charing Cross Bridge. Prior to this, subjective shots have been associated with heroin, as in Renton’s overdose and withdrawal, and though this is a shot that shows Renton the use of the voice-over clearly indicates that this reflects his new approach to life. He walks away from his previous life in Scotland for the final time, but he cannot abandon his Scottishness, and his decision to enter into the community, to ‘choose life’ and to ‘be like you’ is announced in a Scottish accent. Smith writes that the ending to Trainspotting is ambivalent: ‘No wonder Renton is smiling: he wins on all fronts, being both decent (sensitive and compassionate) and ‘bad’ (smart, hip and self-assertive) – that is, good and thus admirable to both mainstream and countercultural criteria’ (Smith 2002: 51). He argues that Renton is an ‘anti-hero’ whose heroism is derived from rejecting a ‘false’ set of values (Smith 2002: 46). In this section I have argued that Renton rejects the ‘false’ values of an isolating Scottish identity symbolised by the irrelevance of ‘official’ Scotland and the self-destructive provincialism of Begbie without losing his natural Scottishness. Renton chooses to reinterpret the banality of his Scottish identity in the context of ‘hot’ Britishness nationalism, and as he walks across the Thames in the morning sun he emerges from the darkness Scotland into the light of Britishness as both a Scot and Briton.

References

Billig M 1995 Banal Nationalism. London: Sage.

Mazierska E and Rascaroli L 2003 From Moscow to Madrid: Postmodern Cities, European Cinema. London and New York: I.B. Tauris.

McArthur C 1982 Scotland and cinema: the iniquity of the fathers, in C McArthur (ed.) Scotch Reels: Scotland in Cinema and Television. London: BFI: 40-69.

McLoone M 2002 Challenging colonial traditions: British cinema in the Celtic fringe, Cineaste 26 (4): 51-54.

Smith M 2002 Trainspotting. London: BFI.

Street S 1997 British National Cinema. London: Routledge.

Welsh I 2004 Trainspotting. London: Minerva.

The geographies of cinema

This week some interesting papers on the subject of the geography of cinema, which covers a wide range of topic from the political economy of film industries to the representation of space in cinema. As ever, this list is not comprehensive, but has a selection of interesting papers I have come across.

For each paper I give the reference of the published version, but the version linked to may be a pre-print, a web version, working paper, or a technical report and so page references, formatting, etc., may be different and this should be kept in mind if you want to quote from this research. Most of the files are pdfs.

You can access my papers on British film and geography here (on Manchester in 24 Hour Party People) and here (on London in Notting Hill and South West 9). Other references are given on the page about me.

Alanen A 2008 The structure of Finnish film production at the enterprise level, Tieto & Trendit Journal of Statistics Finland 3/2008.

Alanen A 2008 In Hollywood or in the backwood?, Tieto & Trendit Journal of Statistics Finland 5/2008.

Arrowsmith C, Verhoeven D, and Davidson A (n.d.) A method for detecting geographical cinema circuits using Markov Chains.

Curti GH 2008 The ghost in the city and a landscape of life: a reading of difference in Shirow and Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell, Environment and Planning D 28: 87-106.

Dell’agnese E 2005 The US–Mexico border in American movies: a political geography perspective, Geopolitics 10: 204-221.

Escher A 2006 The geography of cinema – a cinematic world, Erdkunde 60 (4): 307-314.

Eliashberg J, Elberse A, and Leendera MAAM (2006) The motion picture industry: critical issues in practice,current research, and new research directions, Marketing Science 25 (6): 638-661. [The link to this article appears to have been broken, and so it has been removed].

Falicov TL 2002 Film policy under MERCOSUR: the case of Uruguay, Canadian Journal of Communication 27 (1).

Gamir A and Manuel C 2007 Cinema and geography: geographic space, landscape and territory in the film industry, Boletin de la asociacion de geografos españoles 45: 407-410.

Lorenzen M 2008 Creativity at Work: On the Globalization of the Film Industry, Creative Encounters Working Papers 8.

Lukinbeal C 2002 Teaching historical geographies of American film production, Journal of Geography 101: 250-260.

Lukinbeal C 2004 The map that precedes the territory: an introduction to essays in cinematic geography, GeoJournal 59 (4): 247-251.

Lukinbeal C 2005 Cinematic landscapes, Journal of Cultural Geography 23 (1): 3-22.

Lukinbeal C 2006 Runaway Hollywood: Cold Mountain, Romania, Erkunde 60 (4): 337-345.

Lukinbeal C and Zimmermann S 2006 Film geography: a new subfield, Erkunde 60 (4): 315-326.

Mezias JM and Mezias SJ 2000 Resource partioning, the founding of specialist firms, and innovation: the American feature film industry, 1912-1929, Organization Science 11 (3): 306-322.

Mould O 2008 Moving images: world cities, connections and projects in Sydney’s TV production industry, Global Networks 8 (4): 474-495.

Richardson S 2005 Welcome to the cheap seats: cinemas, sex and landscape, Industrial Archaeology Review 27: 145-152.

Scott AJ 2002 A new map of Hollywood: the production and distribution of American motion pictures, Regional Studies 36 (9): 957-975.

Scott AJ (n.d.) A new map of Hollywood and the World.

Turok I 2003 Cities, clusters, and creative industries: the case of film and TV in Scotland, European Planning Studies 11 (5): 549-565.

Vang J and Chaminade C 2007 Global-local linkages, spillovers, and cultural clusters: theoretical and empirical insights from an exploratory study of Toronto’s film cluster, Industry and Innovation 14 (4): 401-420.

Connecting the regional and the global in the UK film industry

UPDATE: 22 November 2010 – this artilce has now been published as Connecting the Regional and the Global in the UK Film Industry, Transnational Cinemas 1 (2) 2010: 145-160. DOI: 10.1386/trac.1.2.145_1.

This weeks post is a draft of an article that I started writing a awhile ago and has driven me up the wall for several months, as most of it has been finished for quite some time but I never could quite get it done. The piece is about regional film production in the UK, and the ways in which this production is connected within the UK and beyond. It represents an attempt to enumerate the different types of films produced in the UK’s regions in the absence of any official statistics on the geography of film production in the UK. The abstract is presented below and the pdf can be down loaded here: Nick Redfern – Connecting the regional and the global in the UK film industry.

Abstract

Film policy in the United Kingdom is comprised of two complementary strands: the development of regional production clusters and the positioning of the UK as a film hub in the global film industry. Thus article examines the relationship between the regional, national, and global scales in feature film production in three UK regions – Northern Ireland, Scotland, and the South West of England – from 2004 to 2006. The results indicate that connections between the regions of the UK and the global film industry are limited; and that where they do exist these connections are either directly to or mediated through London, which functions as the dominant centre of distribution and finance – and therefore decision-making – in the UK film industry. Northern Ireland, by virtue of its cultural and economic relationship to the Republic of Ireland, stands out as a region in which its connections to other major decision-making centres are as important as its connections to London. The results suggest that while UK film policy has sought to redistribute the productive capacity of the industry, the autonomy of regional production centres remains limited.

Scottish Cinema: national cinema or regional cinema?

This piece was originally written as part of my Ph.D., rewritten for a journal but not published, lost (!), and now found. The issue of scale in the UK film industry – local, regional, national, global – has not been adequately addressed, and this piece attempts to establish some sort of rational for thinking about how a particular part of the UK (Scotland) can be thought of as part of the British nation without destroying what is unique about Scottish cinema. Duncan Petrie’s work on cinema in Scotland provides an approach that recognises and attempts to solve this problem; and I find it much more successful than Martin McLoone’s confused use of spatial metaphors. Although it seems a little dated in the films it refers to, the problems identified in talking about the cinema of the UK’s so-called ‘Celtic fringe’ are still relevant.


The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has been described as a ‘multinational state,’ comprised of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, that lacks a coherent national identity (Rose 1982). Given this situation it is far from clear that filmmaking in the United Kingdom may be defined as a single British national cinema, rather than as a set of national cinemas that is comprised of English, Welsh, Irish, and Scottish cinemas. British cinema studies frequently regards English cinema as being co-extensive with British cinema, and treats Scottish, Irish, and Welsh cinemas as ‘national’ cinemas in their own right. However, this approach is problematic as Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales do not exist as independent and sovereign nation-states in their own right, while marginalising the diverse cultural geography of England. In this paper I discuss the problems of describing the cinema in terms of geographical categories (e.g., centre, periphery, national) in two discussions of contemporary Scottish cinema, and I argue that Scottish cinema is best understood as a regional cinema of the UK.

Cinemas of the Celtic fringe?

Martin McLoone makes a distinction between the Anglo-British cinema and the cinemas of the ‘Celtic fringe,’ in which he includes Wales, Scotland, and, to a lesser extent, Northern Ireland. (He does not include Cornwall in this categorisation of the cinemas of the periphery). McLoone states that in the past, British cinema was synonymous with an assertive, middle-class, metropolitan Englishness. The Celtic fringe was not ignored by this cinema, but was ‘traduced into playing a peripheral and heavily circumscribed role within the larger national project.’ The centrality of the English and their continued right to dominance was, he states, reinforced by an ‘internal colonialism’ in which the ‘metropolitan urbanity’ of the English was set in counterpoint to the Celtic fringe that was projected as being a wild, romantic, and essentially irrational place peopled by loveable rogues. This internal colonialism was ‘dependent upon a strict division of labour in which English and Englishness predominated and the Celtic fringes and their primitive languages were marginal’ (McLoone 2001: 52).

McLoone argues that recent films such as Human Traffic (Justin Kerrigan, 1999) and Late Night Shopping (Saul Metzstein, 2001) challenge the dominant colonial traditions of the British cinema, leaving behind the stereotypes of tartanry and kailyardism (which he associates with all non Anglo-British cinemas) and recasting the relationship between centre and periphery. He characterises them as presenting an attitude of ‘anywhere-but-traditionally-British,’ and representing ‘a kind of decolonisation of Britain’s Celtic fringe’ (McLoone 2001: 52). McLoone writes that the cinemas of Britain’s Celtic fringes have a double focus: they produce films that are ‘concerned to explode myths and move beyond the regimes of representation that have been bequeathed by dominant British cinemas down the years;’ and that they also explore the dominant nationalist responses to the centre.

Above all, this is a cinema that is no longer content to operate on the margins. These are cultures that are no longer content to be peripheral and exploited partners in a strict cultural division of labour. In fact, this new cinema has pushed peripherality into the centre and now operates on the very cutting edge of a contemporary cultural debate about identity (McLoone 2001: 54).

McLoone is right to identify a transformation in the relationship between the constituent parts of the UK in the 1990s, and that this transformation has been represented in the cinema.

However, this argument is problematic. First, McLoone does not examine the role of territory coherently. He initially states that Human Traffic and Late Night Shopping make little reference to their locations (respectively, Wales and Scotland) and are characterised by an ‘urban placelessness,’ a sense of ‘dislocation’ and ‘inbetweeness;’ and yet it is clear that his argument is based precisely upon an awareness of space, territory, and an awareness of place, as the genesis of these films on the Celtic fringe is described as ‘very important’ (McLoone 2001: 51). As a consequence, it is not clear at what territorial scale the Celtic cinema should be understood: McLoone refers to them as ‘national’ cinemas but never suggests how they might exist as such within the nation-state of the United Kingdom. In fact, as fringe cinemas they must be considered as part of a British national cinema. As it is to be defined in terms of its relation to a central point, and the statement that ‘this new cinema has pushed peripherality into the centre and now operates on the very cutting edge of a contemporary cultural debate about identity,’ is linguistically very troubling: how can a fringe cinema place the periphery at the centre whilst it is on the edge? As McLoone describes it, contemporary Celtic cinema longs to be both at the centre and on the periphery.

Second, the concept of Celtic cinemas as ‘fringe cinemas’ is dependent upon a simplistic model of the centre and the periphery in the UK that fails to account for the diversity and complexity of British political and cultural geography. For example, Rose (1982: 11) has argued that there is no nation associated with the UK state: ‘No one speaks of the “UKes” as a nation;’ while Michael Keating (1988: 10) suggests that ‘the United Kingdom lacks even a term for the common “nationality” of its citizens.’ Robin Cohen writes that,

British identity shows a general pattern of fragmentation. Multiple axes of identification have meant that Irish, Scots, Welsh and English people, those from the white, black and brown Commonwealth, Americans, English-speakers, Europeans and even ‘aliens’ have had their lives intersect one with another in overlapping and complex circles of identity construction and rejection. The shape and edges of British identity are thus historically changing, often vague, and, to a degree, malleable – an aspect of British identity I have called a ‘fuzzy frontier’ (Cohen 1994: 35).

In light of the complications with regard to the appropriate terminology that can be applied to the UK and its citizens, it is unsurprising to find that, in the opinion of Gamble and Wright, the ‘British have long been distinguished by having no clear idea about who they are, where they are, or what they are’ (2000: 1). McLoone’s model that neatly divides contemporary cinema in the UK into a Celtic ‘us’ and an Anglo ‘them’ is unconvincing given the complicated nature of identity in the UK and lacks the required flexibility to deal with the ‘fuzziness’ of what it means to be British. Furthermore, it is a model that assumes the Celtic fringe exists a single entity and does not respect the differences between Wales, Scotland, and Ireland – territories that do not share a single Celtic culture, a border, or history – whilst ignoring Cornwall completely.

Third, McLoone assumes that England can be represented unproblematically as a homogenous entity, and fails to acknowledge that the North East, the North West, Yorkshire and Humber, and the South West all have strong regionalist movements (largely inspired by the Scottish Constitutional Convention), and each makes significant claims to a unique identity and wish to see that identity represented on film. Films such as Blue Juice (Carl Prechezer, 1995), Brassed Off (Mark Herman, 1996), and 24 Hour Party People (Michael Winterbottom, 2002) are as concerned with issues of centrality and peripherality, regional cultures, and regional identity as films emerging from the Celtic fringe of the UK. These films dramatise the shift from traditional heavy industries to cultural industries in the late twentieth century, and make the case that the rest of the UK needs to recognise this shift and reorient their mental maps of the regions. They emphasise the vitality of regional subcultures (surfers, brass bands, Madchester), and make the case that the nation should respect the uniqueness and diversity of the regions, recognising their contribution to the cultural life of the United Kingdom. The challenging of traditional images of the North of England, for example, is as much a part of contemporary British cinema as the challenge to the traditions of tartanry and kailyardism (see, for example, Redfern 2005).

Terminology and industry

A similar problem with terminology arises in attempting to describe the relationship between the United Kingdom and Scottish cinema. Duncan Petrie’s analysis of recent Scottish cinema has been inspired by the upsurge of creativity in Scottish filmmaking in the mid-1990s. At the root of this film boom is the sense of alienation felt by many Scots from the Conservative governments of the 1980s, and the ‘bold new affirmation of Scottish cultural creativity and self-expression’ that accompanied this political dislocation (Petrie 2000a: 153). This upsurge is identifiable in the critical and commercial success of ‘Scottish’ films such as Shallow Grave (Danny Boyle, 1994), Small Faces (Gillies MacKinnon, 1996), Trainspotting (Danny Boyle, 1996), Orphans (Peter Mullan, 1999), and Ratcatcher (Lynne Ramsay, 1999) that have introduced a new generation of filmmakers (e.g., Andrew Macdonald, Danny Boyle, Lynne Ramsay) and actors (e.g., Ewan Macgregor, Robert Carlyle) to the world of cinema. At this time a number of international productions including Braveheart (Mel Gibson, 1995), Rob Roy (Michael Caton-Jones, 1995), and Breaking the Waves (Lars von Trier, 1996), also represented Scotland to audiences around the world, and, in the case of Braveheart particularly, were adopted by Scottish nationalist organisations. Petrie cites the emergence of a new indigenous institutional framework and new sources of film finance that as the most important developments in creating the conditions for the development of recognisably ‘Scottish’ cinema. The merger of a number of pre-existing bodies to form Scottish Screen in 1997, the establishment of the Glasgow Film Fund in 1993, and the distribution of lottery money by regional arts councils has stimulated film production and film culture on a sub-national level in the UK. Similarly, the Scottish film industry has benefited from a number of programmes to develop and showcase new talent throughout Scotland, and it is through short film programmes such as Tartan Shorts, Gear Ghear, and Prime Cuts that filmmakers such as Peter Mullan and Lynne Ramsay have come to the fore.

For Petrie, the development of Scottish filmmaking from the mid-1990s represents a significant change in the representation of a Scottish identity in the cinema.

Until recently, the cinematic representation of Scotland has been largely an external creation, produced by and securing the commercial needs of a London-based British film industry, or occasionally Hollywood. The repertoire of images created by an emerging Scottish cinema represents both a challenge to and an extension of certain dominant cinematic projections of Scotland and the Scots dating back to the earliest days of the medium (Petrie 2000b: 1).

However, the extent to which this Scottish cinema may be regarded as a ‘national’ cinema is unclear. Petrie defines the ‘new Scottish cinema’ primarily in terms of a sphere of indigenous practice, and describes it as a ‘national’ cinema (2000a: 162). However, he acknowledges that Scottish film production and reception only has meaning in relation to the rest if the United Kingdom:

Scottish productions rely heavily on securing deals with British distributors and being shown in cinemas across the United Kingdom, Scottish cinema-going representing only 10 per cent of the UK total for audience figures. … the new Scottish cinema still needs to be seen in the context of the wider British cinema. The new Scottish cinema is a distinct and meaningful identity but as yet its status should be understood in terms of a devolved British cinema rather than full independence (Petrie 2000a: 166).

In regarding the new Scottish cinema as a regional cinema of the United Kingdom it is possible to regard it as representing ‘a distinct and meaningful identity’ without the confusion of the label ‘national,’ which Petrie admits is inadequate at the same time as he employs it. The term ‘national cinema’ implies a degree of homogeneity in recent Scottish cinema that is unwarranted since not all contemporary Scottish films are nationalistic in their attitude: Trainspotting, for example, equates Scottishness with heroin addiction, and the main character’s ultimate escape from both afflictions is to be found in London – the very Anglo centre that McLoone rejects. A regional approach makes it possible to distinguish between the different discourses of Scottishness, from separatism (what Connor [1977] referred to as ethnonationalism) and more moderate (e.g., bourgeois, progressive, or social democratic) forms of regionalism (Keating 1998). This is not to deny that a Scottish national cinema may at some point in the future emerge; but as Petrie seeks to document historical changes in Scottish filmmaking, the use of the term region allows us to be more precise in describing the texts and contexts of the cinema in the United Kingdom since the 1990s.

Conclusion

Adopting a regional approach to contemporary Scottish cinema brings the role of space, place, and territory to the fore without the confusion that is evident in the models of McLoone and Petrie. It is an approach that can be applied to contemporary Northern Irish and Welsh cinemas, as well as the various cinemas of England, making it possible to take on overall view of British cinema since the mid-1990s rather than seeing each part of the UK in isolation. The category of the region is preferable to the nation in discussing the industrial, textual, and spatial relationships between the cinemas that represent various identities (Scottish, Welsh, Yorkshire, Londoner, etc.) within a single nation-state (the United Kingdom) in an era of devolution. By introducing the concept of the regional to the study of contemporary British cinema it is possible to examine the relationship between Britishness and regional identities without relying upon a simplistic core-periphery model, recognising the geographical diversity of culture in the United Kingdom, and allowing us to relate these films to their historical and political moment. Luckett (2000: 91) states that regional difference is ‘increasingly included as an important part of British multiculturalism,’ but in relying on confusing and simplistic spatial categories the analysis of contemporary Scottish cinema runs the risk of becoming evermore parochial as it becomes conceptually remote from the rest of the nation.

References

Cohen, R. (1994) Frontiers of Identity: The British and the Others. London and New York: Longman.

Connor, W. (1977) Ethnonationalism in the first world: the present in historical perspective,’ in M.J. Esman (ed.) Ethnic Conflict in the Western World. Ithaca: Cornell University Press: 19-45.

Gamble, A. and T. Wright (2000) The end of Britain?, The Political Quarterly 71 (1), 1-3.

Keating, M. (1988) State and Regional Nationalism: Territorial Politics and the European State. Hemel Hempstead: Harvester-Wheatsheaf.

Keating, M. (1998) The New Regionalism in Western Europe: Territorial Restructuring and Political Change. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Luckett, M. (2000), Image and nation in the 1990s, in R. Murphy (ed.) British Cinema of the 90s. London: BFI: 88-99.

McLoone, M. (2001) Challenging colonial traditions: British cinema in the Celtic fringe, Cineaste 26 (4), 51-54.

Petrie, D. (2000a) The new Scottish cinema, in M. Hjort and S. Mackenzie (eds.) Cinema and Nation. London and New York: Routledge: 153-169.

Petrie, D. (2000b) Screening Scotland. London: BFI.

Redfern, N. (2005) ‘We Do Things Differently Here:’ Manchester as a cultural region in 24 Hour Party People, EnterText 5 (2) 2005: 286-306. [Available online: http://arts.brunel.ac.uk/gate/entertext/5_2/ET52RedfernEd.doc, accessed 19 March 2009].

Rose, R. (1982) Understanding the United Kingdom: The Territorial Dimension in Government. London: Longman.