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The Cinema of the Swimming Pool


Edited By Christopher Brown and Pam Hirsch

The swimming pool frequently appears in film not merely as a setting but as a dynamic site where social, political, cultural and aesthetic forces converge. What is it about this space that has so fascinated filmmakers and what kinds of cinematic investigations does it encourage? This collection features essays by an eclectic, international range of film researchers. Amongst the works analysed are classics such as The Cameraman (1928), The Philadelphia Story (1940) and La Piscine (1969); cult hits such as The Swimmer (1968) and Deep End (1970); and more recent representations of the pool in Water Lilies (2007), Sea Point Days (2009) and Ausente (2011). The pool is considered as a realm where artifice meets nature, where public meets private, where sexualities morph and blend; and as a space that reconfigures the relationship between architecture and narrative, in which themes of pollution, spectacle and reflexivity find unique expression. Approaching the swimming pool from a wide range of methodological perspectives, the essays in this collection stake a claim for the enduring significance of this exciting cinematic space.
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List of Illustrations


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Where the copyright to reproduce images has been sought and obtained, this is indicated below. In all other cases, images take the form of frame grabs, the use of which, for the purpose of academic criticism and review in this collection, is considered ‘fair dealing’, following current convention.

Chapter 1

1.1 The ‘Municipal Plunge’ in Buster Keaton and Edward Sedgwick’s The Cameraman (MGM, 1928).

1.2 Buster Keaton in The Cameraman (MGM, dir. Edward Sedgwick, 1928).

1.3 Chiswick Lido in the newsreel segment Water Babies (British Pathé, 1929). Copyright: British Pathé Ltd. Permission to reproduce obtained.

1.4 Members of the cast of the musical revue Brighter Blackpool parade for the Topical Budget camera in Aquatic Frolics (1926). Copyright: British Film Institute.

1.5 Victoria Baths, Manchester, in use as a public hall, c. 1910. Copyright: Manchester Libraries. Permission to reproduce obtained.

1.6 Postcard advertising films at the Prince of Wales’ Hall (Kentish Town Baths), October 1906. Courtesy of Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre.

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