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This article examines the ways in which British specialist film culture anticipated and received the resumed supply of French films at the end of the Second World. It explores how the pre-war reputations of different national cinemas combined with the documentary realist preoccupations of the British cultural cinema movement to structure the British reception of post-war imports. It finds that in serious film journalism and within the rapidly expanding film society movement, new French cinema was the focus of at least as much attention as the foreign cinema more famously associated with the era – Italian neo-realism. The article posits that a number of factors, including anti-Americanism, combined to position the delayed wartime and immediate post-war French releases a site of impossible expectations and subsequent interpretative difficulty for British cinephiles. In particular, through a case study of the local mediation of French cinema in the English city of Nottingham, this article considers the role of published criticism for setting the viewing frame within the provincial film society movement and interrogates the power dynamics this created. By tracing the tensions surrounding the circulation of film prints, information and opinion relating to these prestigious cultural imports, it becomes possible to gain greater insight into both the range of nationally specific meanings attributed to the imported films and the geographic and cultural inequalities at work within the film culture of the country of reception.
|Keywords:||French cinema; post-war; film society movement; film criticism; reception studies; Nottingham; specialist cinema|
|Glasgow Author(s):||Selfe, Dr Melanie|
|College/School:||College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Theatre Film and TV Studies|
|Journal Name:||New Review of Film and Television Studies|