Social Realist Melodrama: Middle-class Minorities and Floundering Fathers

David Martin-Jones

in Scotland: Global Cinema

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print September 2005 | ISBN: 9780748633913
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651207 | DOI:
Social Realist Melodrama: Middle-class Minorities and Floundering Fathers

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This chapter focuses on two films that draw upon the social realist tradition, Ae Fond Kiss (2004) and On a Clear Day (2005). First, it outlines the way social realism is defined in studies of cinema, and then sketches in something of its history in relation to British cinema and previous cinematic representations of Scotland. It then demonstrates the two films' different cominglings of social realism with melodrama. Whilst Ae Fond Kiss draws a subtle distinction between global and local identities, in On a Clear Day the question of a specific identity that can be described as global, local or even national recedes into the background as the film focuses on gendered identity in a post-industrial milieu. In Ae Fond Kiss, Scotland plays an integral role as a location in which the action is set. In On a Clear Day, Scotland becomes a film set, a backdrop with resonances of industrial masculinity — long-established in previous cinematic representations of working-class life in Scotland's shipyards — against which to explore the future of post-industrial masculinity in the United Kingdom more generally.

Keywords: Ae Fond Kiss; On a Clear Day; social realism; melodrama; cinema; Scotland; United Kingdom; masculinity; cinematic representations; gendered identity

Chapter.  8819 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film

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