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Running off the Anger: British New Wave


Anna Śliwińska

Running off the Anger. British New Wave includes several areas of research that suggest interpreting the cinema of the British New Wave in relation to social realism, the construction of the main characters, popular culture and the way New Wave played with film-making. Thanks to an in-depth analysis of key films of this trend, it is possible not only to understand the workings of social realism and examine character creation and their rebellion, but also to explore the intentionality of the utilising New Wave techniques that were known from nouvelle vague. The last chapter of this book is devoted to the most recent references to British New Wave Cinema.

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Chapter 4 British New Wave Hero


Whatever people say I am, that’s what I’m not.

Because they don’t know a bloody thing about me.

God knows what I am.

Arthur Seaton in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

Previous chapters in this book discussed issues related to social life in the Britain of the 1950s and 1960s. What can be seen quite clearly is how the focus is placed firmly on the main protagonist, and it is evidently the case that British New Wave films are primarily concerned with the protagonist and the society they live in. Associated with this is the question of rebellion (also examined in this chapter), which, though ostensibly a liberating force, often meant even greater suffering on the part of the protagonist and those close to them. What is extremely significant about this chapter is not just how it presents the current state of research on the British New Wave’s main protagonists, but the way it shows how the truth about the ambivalence of rebellion is revealed, even in technical solutions (such as the closing scene of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning).

1. The Hero and The Effect of Reality

One of the key questions related to the New Wave discussed in numerous publications is the attempt to define the role of the main protagonist. Scholars have put forward a whole host of theories that aim to arrive at an unequivocal category for the main protagonist. Is the...

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