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Title: The anarchist cinema
Author: Newton, James
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2016
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There has been only a minimal amount written in academic circles on the connections between political anarchism and cinema. Alan Lovell focuses on allegorical readings of films by Jean Vigo, Luis Bunuel, and Georges Franju. Richard Porton examines the historical representation of anarchists and their ideas. More recently, Nathan Jun lays out ideas for a proposed ‘cinema of liberation’. Yet these three writers, who provide the most notable attempts at wrestling with the subject, barely refer to one another. This means that there are disconnections in the areas of existing scholarly research, and it fails to fully analyse the complex series of relationships that exist between anarchism and film. My thesis attempts to address these gaps, and suggests ways in which anarchist theory can be used as a framework to inform our understanding of cinema as a cultural and industrial institution, and also provide an alternative process of reading and interpreting films. In analysing the dynamics between anarchist theory and film, it focuses on three key areas. Firstly, it considers the notion that cinema is an inherently anarchic space, based around fears of unruly (predominantly working class) audiences. Secondly, it attempts to delineate what the criteria for an anarchist film could be, by looking at a range of formal characteristics and content featured in a number of popular movies. And thirdly, it examines the place of grassroots and DIY filmmaking in the wider context of an anarchist cinema. My thesis finds the continuities that exist between radical film culture of the present and the past, and I propose that there is an innately anarchic undercurrent to several key aspects of cinematic culture. The thesis concludes by stressing the distinction that exists between film as a text, and cinema as a range of cultural activities. I propose that the ultimate embodiment of a study of an anarchist cinema should combine film analysis with that of an examination of cinema as a social and physical space. In turn, this can help us to consider the ways in which film and cinema may form part of a culture of resistance – one which fully articulates the concerns and questions surrounding anarchist political theory.
Supervisor: Stanfield, Peter Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: T Technology