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Heritage Film Audiences - Period Films and Contemporary Audiences in the UK

Heritage Film Audiences

Heritage Film Audiences - Period Films and Contemporary Audiences in the UK

CATH's Dr Claire Monk, Senior Lecturer in Film Studies, sees her latest book Heritage Film Audiences -  Period Films and Contemporary Audiences in the UK published by Edinburgh University Press in the UK and Columbia University Press in the USA, during July 2011.

The concept of ‘heritage cinema’ is now firmly established as an influential – but also much-debated and contested – critical framework for the discussion of period or historical representation in film, most prominently with reference to British heritage and ‘post-heritage’ successes since the 1980s, but also to comparable examples from Europe, North America and beyond. These successes have ranged from Merchant Ivory’s A Room with a View, Maurice, Howards End and The Remains of the Day, via Jane Austen adaptations such as Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility to post-heritage adaptations such as Sally Potter’s Orlando. Yet the very idea of the heritage film has rested on untested assumptions about its audiences.

This book breaks significant new ground in the scholarship on contemporary period films, and makes a distinctive new contribution to the growing field of film-audience studies, by presenting the first empirically based study of the audiences for ‘quality’ period films. Monk engages directly with two highly contrasting sections of these audiences, surveyed in the UK in the late 1990s, to explore their identities, their patterns of viewing and wider film taste, and above all their attitudes and pleasures – in relation to the period films they enjoy, and on issues central to debates around the heritage film, literary adaptation and cultural value – with illuminating and unpredicted results.

Dr Claire Monk is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at De Montfort University and is co-editor of British Historical Cinema (Routledge, 2002). She has published widely on the heritage film, post-1970 British cinema and the cultural politics of both.

Posted on Friday 1st July 2011

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