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Title: The role of film societies in the presentation and mediation of 'Cultural' film in post-war Nottingham
Author: Selfe, Melanie
ISNI:       0000 0001 3393 3702
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis seeks to change the emphasis created by the highly selective, available history of the British film society movement. It looks beyond the radical politicised and avant-garde groups of the 1930s to consider the substantial role that the largely apolitical post-war movement played in developing `film appreciation' and a notion of quality cultural film. Employing a detailed case history, it traces voluntary film exhibition in the city of Nottingham during a period of boom and flux for the movement (1945-1960). It maps film society ethos and practice against both an unstable local cinema environment and developments at the British Film Institute, assessing the impact of both. A primary concern within this study has been to explore the networks of cultural power involved in the local exhibition of international cinema. It finds that film societies operating outwith London had a deeply contradictory relationship to both the local and the national. On one hand, their desire to be part of international film culture led them to ally themselves to the values of a metropolitan-led cosmopolitan film culture which was often disdainful of provincial tastes; on the other, they sought to position themselves as organisations of and for the local community. Nonetheless, they played an important role in mediating written discourses on film which still hold relevance for art-house exhibition today. They presented ideas such as national cinema and directorial authorship to local audiences, grounding them in programming practice. This thesis posits that the post-war film society movement and the BFI both contributed to the development of a `serious' approach to `grown-up' film culture. However, changing commercial exhibition and increased central funding strengthened the position of the BFI, leading to the establishment of subsidised Regional Film Theatres - the first of which was welcomed by the film society in Nottingham in 1966
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available