What is the relationship between film and culture, and how do they influence each other?

Course Description
The cinemas of Ireland, Scotland and Wales have experienced a creative explosion since the 1980s, and this explosion has been accompanied by considerable critical interest. This course focuses on a selection of contemporary films from these nations, while also examining the industries and audiences that support them. We will analyse how these films relate to representations of Celtic identity and to the evolution of distinctive national cinemas.
We will treat each film as a separate text with its own narrative, themes, and formal style and examine closely how each film creates meaning and engages the audience. At the same time, we will explore how these films relate to and resonate with each other; which broader questions they raise about Celtic cultures; and what they reveal about developments in the industries. Our discussions will be informed by such questions as: How do we define “Celtic” cinema? Is there a distinct and identifiable Celtic aesthetic? What is the relationship between film and culture, and how do they influence each other? What does filmic representation of a nation entail? How useful is the concept of Celtic identity in a globalised world? Which challenges do Scottish, Welsh and Irish filmmakers face in a transnational industry?

Critical Response: Each student will write a short critical response to the film Local Hero. The length of this mini essay should be no longer than 400 words. You are expected to reflect on the film and the accompanying required reading. The essay must be typed and follow MLA style.

Respond to ONE of the following questions:
(1) Local Hero presents Scotland’s postcoloniality on many levels. How does the film employ Celtic identity in its depiction of power struggles? What is the film’s central argument regarding Scotland’s postcolonial status?
(2) Duncan Petrie wrote about the director of Local Hero, Bill Forsyth, that he “has existed on the margins of mainstream and art house cinema” (168). How does Local Hero reflect this in-between position?
(3) Local Hero is told from the perspective of an American. How does this point of view affect the audience’s attitudes toward Scotland?