Sexual healing: representations of the English in post-devolutionary Scotland

Martin-Jones, D. (2005) Sexual healing: representations of the English in post-devolutionary Scotland. Screen, 46(2), pp. 227-234. (doi: 10.1093/screen/46.2.227)

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There is a tradition of films set in Scotland that show the nation through the eyes of an outsider. Perhaps the most well known are those which feature an American visitor, including The Maggie (Alexander Mackendrick, 1953), Brigadoon (Vincente Minnelli, 1954), Trouble in the Glen (Herbert Wilcox, 1954) and Local Hero (Bill Forsyth, 1983). But there are other significant examples where English visitors to Scotland propel the narrative such as I Know Where I’m Going (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1945), Whisky Galore! (Alexander Mackendrick, 1949), Laxdale Hall (John Eldridge, 1952) and Rockets Galore (Michael Relph, 1958). This essay will focus on more recent cinematic representations of the English in Scotland, coinciding with a process of political devolution marked by the referendum of 1997 and the subsequent establishment of a Scottish parliament in 1999. I will concentrate on two key examples, Regeneration (Gillies MacKinnon, 1997) and The Last Great Wilderness (David Mackenzie, 2002). Both films feature psychologically damaged English characters whose experience in Scotland serves to heal the ruptures in their respective identities allowing them to leave, apparently cured. This trajectory is in marked contrast to the earlier films in which the English visitor tended to be assimilated into the local community through marriage. The two films under discussion are also both part of a new Scottish cinema, developed and part funded from Scottish sources of finance that had become available in the mid 1990s. Regeneration is a British/Canadian co-production that received the majority of its British funding from the Scottish lottery fund, while The Last Great Wilderness, a low budget digital production co-produced by the Danish company Zentropa, received 75% of its budget from the same source.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Martin-Jones, Professor David
Authors: Martin-Jones, D.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Theatre Film and TV Studies
Journal Name:Screen
Publisher:Oxford University Press

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