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Mapping Cinematic Norths

International Interpretations in Film and Television


Edited By 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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The North of England in British Wartime Film, 1941–1946


The North of England is a place-myth as much as a material reality. Conceptually it exists as the location where the economic, political, sociological, as well as climatological and geomorphological, phenomena particular to the region are reified into a set of socio-cultural qualities that serve to define it as different to conceptualizations of England and ‘Englishness’. Whilst the abstract nature of such a construction means that the geographical boundaries of the North are implicitly ill-defined, for ease of reference, and to maintain objectivity in defining individual texts as Northern films, this essay will adhere to the notion of a ‘seven county North’ (i.e. the pre-1974 counties of Cumberland, Westmorland, Northumberland, County Durham, Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Cheshire) that is increasingly being used as the geographical template for the North of England within social and cultural history.1 ← 65 | 66 →

The British film industry in 1941

As 1940 drew to a close in Britain any memories of the ‘Phoney War’ of the spring of that year were likely to seem but distant recollections of a bygone age dispersed by the brutal realities of conflict. Outside of the immediate theatres of conflict the domestic industries that had catered for the demands of an increasingly affluent and consuming population were orientated towards the needs of a war economy as plant, machinery, and labour shifted to war production.

The majority of industrial activities could be refocused with relative ease. However, the British film industry, immune throughout the thirties...

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