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Mapping Cinematic Norths

International Interpretations in Film and Television

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Julia Dobson and Jonathan Rayner

Mapping Cinematic Norths presents an international range of research and enquiry into the significance, representation and manipulation of depictions of the ‘North’ in cinema and television. Northern landscapes, soundscapes, characters and narratives are defined and recognized as distinctive image-spaces within film and television. However, the ‘North’ is portrayed, exploited and interpreted in divergent ways by filmmakers and film audiences worldwide, and this volume sheds new light on these varying perspectives.

Bringing together the work of established and emerging academics as well as practising filmmakers, this collection offers new critical insights into the coalescence of North-ness on screen, exploring examples from Britain, Scandinavia, continental Europe, Australia and the United States. With contextual consideration and close readings, these essays investigate concepts of the North on film from generic, national, aesthetic, theoretical, institutional and archival perspectives, charting and challenging the representations and preconceptions of the idea of North-ness across cultural and cinematic heritages.

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Archival Traces of the North in Barry Hines’ Looks and Smiles (1981) and Threads (1984)

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The Barry Hines archive is held at the University of Sheffield’s Special Collections. It is a rich resource comprising Hines’ own research materials, newspaper articles, ephemera, letters, notes on meetings and draft or annotated versions of finished texts, as well as unpublished or unperformed plays and screenplays on such varied topics as the Miners’ Strike of 1984–5 and the National American Soccer League of the 1970s. Its contents enables a number of points of exploration into the work of this important but underrated working-class writer, and his oeuvre of Northern English post-war British film, television and literature. Hines is best known for his second published work Kestrel for a Knave (1968), most widely experienced in its filmed guise as Kes (1969) directed by Ken Loach. Given the prominence that Loach would go on to enjoy, it is fair to say that Hines’ formative role in this exploration of childhood, class, education and the North has been somewhat underplayed – Hines, it seems, has been a victim of the discursive emphasis on filmic auteurism and his later works have not received the attention they have deserved. One of our aims here is to begin to redress this critical imbalance.

This chapter explores two of Barry Hines’ most important screenplays, Threads (Mick Jackson, 1984, BBC) and Looks and Smiles (Ken Loach, 1981), and suggests that by augmenting textual analysis with archival methods and insights, we might enable a stronger case for a renewed critical exploration of the writer’s...

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