"A Journey Without Direction": Mapping British Queer Cinema Post-Jarman

Griffiths, Robin M (2014) "A Journey Without Direction": Mapping British Queer Cinema Post-Jarman. In: Film After Thatcher: Gender and Sexuality in post-1990 British Cinema, 2nd July 2014, Liverpool Hope University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The films of Derek Jarman were, for many British queers, “crucial points of reference in [our] generation’s struggles to endure and enjoy life” (Neil Bartlett, The Guardian, 24th January 2014). They presented an unambiguously irreverent critique of a nation, and a community, torn apart by over a decade of Thatcherite policy that unashamedly sought to nail the closet door shut. Yet twenty years after his death, what role did his work play in shaping the direction of the British queer cinema that emerged ‘post-Jarman’? Or are his films, as some surmise, merely “elegies for a lost world” that has long since faded “beyond the reach of memory” (ibid)? From the transient ‘coming out’ optimism that characterised the post-Tory nineties, to the much starker social realism of the new millennium, this paper will explore the legacy of Jarman’s work in relation to a cinema seemingly adrift and still struggling to shake off the residues of Thatcher-era guilt, social division and internalised homophobia. By drawing analysis from a number of more recent films, I will argue that while the wider social and political struggles for LGBT equality and recognition continue, some contemporary filmmakers have emerged with a renewed determination to navigate a new direction for British queer filmmaking that can, perhaps more importantly, delineate the problematically complex, yet queerly fluid, narrative contours and contexts of ‘the ordinary’. Because as Andrew Haigh, director of Weekend (2011), puts it: “We’re not afraid now to tell stories about flawed gay individuals who are fully rounded characters and just as fucked up about life as everyone else.”

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: Cinema Studies & Popular Cinema, Gender & Cinema
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Media > Film and Television
Research Priority Areas: Being Human - Past, Present & Future
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2015 11:46
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2016 13:31
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/1377

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