Discomfort and Joy

The Cinema of Bill Forsyth

by Jonathan Murray (Author)
Monographs X, 262 Pages


Filmmaker Bill Forsyth is one of the most important and fondly regarded of all living Scottish artists. His filmmaking career, beginning with That Sinking Feeling (1979), paved the way for the emergence of an indigenous Scottish cinema. It also established Forsyth as one of the most distinctive and original voices in late twentieth-century European film. This book offers the first integrated and comprehensive study of the director’s complete œuvre. Through extended textual analysis and contextual discussion of each of Forsyth’s eight features, it traces the key formal and thematic characteristics of a remarkable career, one which encompasses both three-figure production budgets in Glasgow and multi-million-dollar adventures in the heart of Hollywood. The book also uses Forsyth’s films to explore the diverse range of film industrial contexts the director has worked within. Most importantly, it sheds light upon the hitherto under-documented zero-budget travails of 1970s Scotland and inflated expectations of early-1980s British film.


X, 262
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2012 (January)
the cinema of Bill Forsyth Scottish artist Scottish cinema early-1980s British film
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2011. X, 262 pp., num. ill.

Biographical notes

Jonathan Murray (Author)

Jonathan Murray lectures in Film and Visual Culture at Edinburgh College of Art. He received his PhD in Film and Television Studies and Scottish History from the University of Glasgow and has published widely on various aspects of Scottish cinema past and present.


Title: Discomfort and Joy