Introduction: romantics versus modernists?

John Orr

in Romantics and Modernists in British Cinema

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780748640140
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671090 | DOI:
Introduction: romantics versus modernists?

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If there is a clash between romanticism and modernism in what is called ‘British’ cinema, it is as much internal as external. Most great directors in Britain are romantics to some degree and modernists to another. In film, paradoxically, the great British romantics like Alfred Hitchcock, David Lean, Carol Reed and Ian Powell have often worked though classical ‘invisible’ narration and under tight censorship: the great romantic films invoke war and its aftermath or the end of Empire and frame within them the romantic ironies of personal passion. A film in which the romantic the modern fluidly intersect is Patrick Keiller's documentary fiction London (1994). This book explores the twentieth-century history of the relationship between romanticism and modernism in British cinema starting at the end of the silent era in 1929, stops deliberately in the year 2000 with Terence Davies' The House of Mirth, then starts again with a postscript in the new century.

Keywords: romanticism; modernism; Britain; cinema; directors; censorship; romantic films; Terence Davies; The House of Mirth; London

Chapter.  1712 words. 

Subjects: Film

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