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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 5 New Wave Playing with Film-making


The New Wave has literally nothing to say,

but it is excellent at saying it1.

This chapter is not intended as a way to prove that the British New Wave and nouvelle vague are identical. To try and prove this is the case would be an impossible task for a number of reasons. Firstly, neither the British nor the French New Wave movement was homogenous. Secondly, on the basis of several technical features it is not possible to draw conclusions on the equivalence of both movements. The main intention in this chapter is to place the British productions of the time in the context of the general trend that was a natural continuation of art cinema. I have deliberately selected only the most characteristic French films (such as The 400 Blows or Breathless), which provided inspiration for the British film-makers. It would probably be possible to collect as many differences as similarities between the French and the British cinema, but this is not the point here, either. It is more important, in my view, to prove that the British New Wave fitted in with the formula of playing with film-making, which was a common feature of all New Wave movements.

1. New Wave, Meaning What?

At the end of the 1950s and the beginning of the 1960s, Europe saw a new generation of young artists yearning for change. In France their attempt was focused on distancing themselves from “le cin...

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