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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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The renown of British New Wave cinema can be attributed, in my opinion, not only to its sociological context (which some writers regard as impossible to overlook do and which has been the subject of numerous discussions), but also its ambiguous ‘social’ protagonist and the skills of the New Wave directors. In this book, I did not attempt to produce a definitive list of films that constitute the core works of the British New Wave, as other writers have already done so (recently B.F. Taylor1). In the introduction, I mentioned films traditionally associated with the British New Wave, as well as those that are seldom referred to and those I regard as in keeping with the New Wave mood. In the New Wave spirit I gave up the idea of closing this list, and even consciously remained open to new contexts. It is not possible to state unequivocally and precisely that a particular film belongs to a given trend, and that not others don’t apply. Instead of marking dividing lines, I went down the road of seeking out tendencies and similarities.

Regardless of the latitudes in which it developed, the British New Wave, allowed one to come close to the protagonists. It did not shy away from their most intimate moments, examine their weaknesses, fears and quirks. This is exactly was British cinema of the late 50s and early 60s did focus - on its protagonists, their furrowed brows (indicating rebellion), their grimaces (ironically mocking reality)...

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