The Anarchist Cinema

Newton, James (2016) The Anarchist Cinema. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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There has been only a minimal amount written in academic circles on the connections between political anarchism and cinema. Alan Lovell focuses on allegorical readings of films by Jean Vigo, Luis Bunuel, and Georges Franju. Richard Porton examines the historical representation of anarchists and their ideas. More recently, Nathan Jun lays out ideas for a proposed ‘cinema of liberation’. Yet these three writers, who provide the most notable attempts at wrestling with the subject, barely refer to one another. This means that there are disconnections in the areas of existing scholarly research, and it fails to fully analyse the complex series of relationships that exist between anarchism and film. My thesis attempts to address these gaps, and suggests ways in which anarchist theory can be used as a framework to inform our understanding of cinema as a cultural and industrial institution, and also provide an alternative process of reading and interpreting films. In analysing the dynamics between anarchist theory and film, it focuses on three key areas. Firstly, it considers the notion that cinema is an inherently anarchic space, based around fears of unruly (predominantly working class) audiences. Secondly, it attempts to delineate what the criteria for an anarchist film could be, by looking at a range of formal characteristics and content featured in a number of popular movies. And thirdly, it examines the place of grassroots and DIY filmmaking in the wider context of an anarchist cinema. My thesis finds the continuities that exist between radical film culture of the present and the past, and I propose that there is an innately anarchic undercurrent to several key aspects of cinematic culture. The thesis concludes by stressing the distinction that exists between film as a text, and cinema as a range of cultural activities. I propose that the ultimate embodiment of a study of an anarchist cinema should combine film analysis with that of an examination of cinema as a social and physical space. In turn, this can help us to consider the ways in which film and cinema may form part of a culture of resistance – one which fully articulates the concerns and questions surrounding anarchist political theory.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Uncontrolled keywords: Anarchist Cinema, anarchism, film studies, anarchy, political philosophy
Subjects: T Technology
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of Arts
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2016 09:26 UTC
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2016 10:35 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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