BOOK REVIEW – London on Film, by Pam Hirsch and Chris O’Rourke (eds.)

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My review of Pam Hirsch and Chris O’Rourke’s edited collection of essays about London and the moving image has now been published by the Journal of British Cinema and Television.

Here’s an excerpt:

In recent decades, the turn toward in-depth studies of cinema and the city has produced a wealth of scholarship on the intricate relationship between cinematic spaces and their locative counterparts. A recent addition is London on Film, which comes via Palgrave Macmillan’s Screening Spaces series and seeks to address the long-standing tensions between London as a cinematic space and its various context/s as a real, lived space.

One of the virtues of this book lies in the breadth of its definition of terms such as ‘cinematic’, encompassing, as it does, a broad temporal range (with case studies from the 1890s up to the 2010s), as well as a variety of representative modes. Fiction features are predictably dominant, but there are also chapters dedicated to documentary, animation and even skateboard videos. Indeed, many of the chapters in this book look beyond the sheer representative worth of cinematic case studies and explore a range of frameworks relevant to historical and contemporary London, from race, gender and sexuality to housing and urban re/development.

The book pulls together an impressive variety of work on a good range of texts and contexts relating to London on screen, and we’ve even used chapters as readings for the London and Film summer school module at King’s (as well as recommending it as further reading for students).

My full review of the book can be read on the Journal of British Cinema and Television (Edinburgh University Press) website and a full table of contents is available via Palgrave.

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