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1 TRANSNATIONAL AUTEURISM IN CONTEMPORARY BRITISH CINEMA: THE CRISIS THE ENGLISH PATIENT (1996) AND BREAKING AND ENTERING (2006) By TIMOTHY MICHAEL ROBINSON A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2010
2 2010 Timothy Michael Robinson
3 I dedicate this thesis to all those teachers, professors, and mentors who helped nur ture my intellectual curiosity throughout my career.
4 ACKNOWLEGEMENTS The success of this project would not have been possible without the assistance of many people, and I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge them. First, I thank professor Scott Nygren, who served as the Chair of my committee, for his mentorsh ip in helping this project reach its full potential. Next, I thank Roger Beebe, the reader on my committee, for his provocative questions that forced me to reconsider vari ous perspectives on the topic I would also like to thank Barbara Mennell, whose gr aduate seminar on National and Transnational Cinema contributed greatly to the scope of my argument. Finally, I would li ke to thank my family, especially my parents Richard and Deborah Robinson, for their loving support, which means so muc h and does not pass unnoticed
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEGEMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 4 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 6 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 7 2 THE ENGLISH PATIENT TRANSNATIONAL IDENTITY AND SPACE ................................ ................................ .... 24 3 BREAKING AND ENTERING : MAPPING TRANSNATIONAL NARRATIVES THROUGH FLUCTUATING ARCHITECTURE IN LONDON ................................ ......... 36 4 TRANSNATIONALISM ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 50 NOTES ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 53 WORKS CITED ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 55 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 58
6 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts TRANSNATIONAL AUTEURISM IN CONTEMPORARY BRITISH CINEMA: THE CRISIS THE ENGLISH PATIENT (1996) AND BREAKING AND ENTERING (2006) By Timoth y Michael Robinson December 2010 Chair: Scott Nygren Major: English My thesis explores the role of national cinema studies in an increasingly globalized marketplace at the turn of the twentieth first century. Due to shifting social, political, and eco nomic forces over the past twenty years, filmmaking industries worldwide have responded through changes in modes of production, distribution, reception, and exhibition that pose the national cinema studies paradigm as problematic. In analyzing the films T he English Patient (1996) and Breaking and Entering (2006) by writer director Anthony Minghella, I argue that merely geographical borders of the nation sta te. The act of being transnational, then, also becomes particularly meaningful to describe contemporary cultural production in approaching the realities of making, circulating, and accessing films under globalization. This study marks an important contri bution to the expansive field of national cinema studies, which has experienced a recent resurgence in the wake of such conditions. These films imagine individuals and imately, they help us to understand contemporary forms of identity but also their limitations within prescribed modes of representation.
7 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION In the current age of globalization marked by the decline of the nation state as a mobilizing po litical force, the increasing free flow of capital across national boundaries, and the stake of transnational media conglomerates in film production, critical and aesthetic categories such as ty of contemporary cultural production. The critical construct of national cinema(s) has been used historically to promote national film cultures and to offer an image of a unified industry with well established institutional modes of representation, ther eby acknowledging the predominance of standardized communication within national media and a shared language consistent with literary tradition. The national cinema(s) paradigm, however, has come under crisis recently due to changing conditions in financi ng, production, distribution, and reception of films (Ezra and Rowden 1). cinematic practices in film studies today, while they simultaneously invite a revised approa ch In order to interrogate questions involving national cinema(s), globalization, and transnational modes of experience, I analyze two films directed by the late writer director Anthony Minghe lla to suggest that they engage in modalities specific to transnational cultural production. The English Patient (1996), a WWII set epic that won nine Academy Awards and mise en scene and editing that allows for individuals to move freely across geo political boundaries outside of the nation Breaking and Entering (2006) addresses British nationalist anxiety to wards displaced refugees from
8 that Minghella becomes a pivotal aut eur in British cinema as it stakes a claim in transnational cinema production at the turn of the twenty films but yields ultimately to imagining communities and identities outside of traditional prescriptio ns of the nation. philosopher and literary critic Johann Gottfried Herder beca me a key figure in the development language and literature from the volk or th e common people (Koepke 181). While Herder Europe would remain in kulturnation and the staaten the latter of which implies arbitrary political boundaries, centralized bureaucratic power based on rational principles, and imperial expansion through colonia lism Revolution ushered in the movement toward rational Enlightenment prop ounded by the rise of individual nation states. Europe developed into a landscape of various nation states rooted in language and culture that found its most extreme realization in the form of the national socialist Third Reich, which culminated in World War II and was followed by the movement toward decolonization and the destabilization of the nation state as a legitimate form of sovereignty.
9 1900s in Europ e, it still remains a relevant cultural and political concept as a means to unite people across various backgrounds and locations within a territorial space to form a mobilizing community capable of political will. Contemporary discourses on globalizatio n and transnationalism in film studies assume Imagined Communities (1991), Benedict Anderson geographical bor eo political territory of the state and the imagined space of the nation, which unites people through cultural forms and practices developed initially by innovations in and popularity of print culture local narratives of resistance and memory and therefore [we must] take into account the full force of these local and dis senting narratives, which are embedded in the larger narrative of the people in a territorialized geographic space through structures of coherence, transparency, and heroism; subsequently, this narrative often erases the multiple realities inherent in race, gender, as an ideological construct involves the perspective o f history as unified, timeless, and teleological, which fails to integrate local narratives that may resist official narratives of the
10 With the fall of the East Bloc in 1989, the second Russian revolution, wars in t he Balkans, Africa, and the Middle East, and the creation of the European Union in the 1990s, the tie between the territorial state and the imagined nation has become increasingly tenuous and outmoded in part due to the increased mobility of diasporic, exi lic, and refugee communities in Europe (Sargeant 345). Other factors contributing to the accelerated movement across national borders during the 1990s and 2000s include the rise of late capitalism from the West with the desire to conquer new frontiers and tap into unfound markets, centralizing global cultural production in the form of media conglomerates, and new technology and the Internet as a popular means of communicating across nations (Higson 127 ) 1 Early cinema before the advent of sound (1895 1927) was similarly transnational and classical narrative production, and int ernet transnationalism could be said to return to a forgotten advancements in technology and alternative modes of communication, operating simultaneously along side traditional forms of national media, challenge the long stabilized by a post Wall Europe. This recent move toward globalization is significant historically because of the explicit effort made by national policies and international organization to ease the exchange of goods and services across traditional national boundaries. 2 In effect, the nation becomes an agent of its own demise. During the 1990s early theories on globalization often tried to make the argument that globalization is an actual phenomenon with real consequences, but these debates increasingly subsided in the 2000s as critics were more convinced of the phenomena and its expansive reach
11 the near collapse of the U.S. banking system and its effects on the global market in late 2007. 3 The political, social, and economic realities of the 1990s contributed to the decline of the response to changes in global capital and increased m obility at the turn of the century. The nation but remaining relevant and no less problematic. The idea of the nation has been productive for film studies as a means to conceptualize cinema in terms of national identity. When film studies entered American academia in the 1960s and 1970s, two theoretical approaches dominated the discourse and helped to legitimize the discipline as an area of study: auteurism a nd national cinema(s). The national cinema paradigm assumes that cinemas around the world embody a cultural or national character. Therefore, in order to understand a filmic text it is imperative that we take into consideration the cultural conditions un der which the film was produced, distributed, and received. The national cinema approach to film studies gained ground primarily in academic language departments that taught film as cultural production implicated in structures of ideology. Research in na tional cinema and identity, which claims that we can analyze certain elements in a film in relation to larger ideological and cultural issues of a film producing nation, has grown in recent years and indicates continued investment in film studies. 4 While l anguage departments contributed to the credibility of film studies as an academic discipline through the institutionalization of the national cinema approach, this methodology carries many assumptions that are challenged by globalization and transnational cultural production. In Contemporary World Cinema (2005), Shohini Chaudhuri states that current
12 ect national imaginaries, characteristic we need to analyze the way in whic nationality through particular forms of representation. Wimal Dissanayake, a scholar in Asian, revolves around the question of difference, with how the uniqueness of one nation differs from ational separateness, but it also limits out understanding of the complexities within a given film text and disregards the notion that ideas (as well as people) are not simply restricted within inscribed borders of the ge o political nation state Andrew Higson, whose work in British cinema exemplifies this methodology, critiques the productive value of the national cinema model in his when describing a national cinema, there is a tendency to focus only on those films that narrate the nation as just this finite, limited space, inhabited by a tightly coherent and unified community, c omits many other available films from a country that offer an alternat ive view of the nation. National identity then becomes only one way for a film to construct identity. National cinema studies have historically failed to account for alternate forms of identity filmmaking including
13 Third Cinema, feminist cinema, queer ci nema, avant garde cinema, regional, transnational, and diasporic cinema (Dennison and Lim 7). 5 Research focused solely on the construction of national identity is then limited in its depiction of the varieties and complexities of identity Faced with criticism over the limitations of the national cinema framework, research in this area of film studies attempts to reconsider the parameters from which we can understand how a film text functions and signifies to audiences. Stephen Crofts, who works in postcolonial theory and in film studies, outlines seven varieties of national cinemas in order to reshape the possibilities of national cinema outside of the Western framework in his essay, 6 Crofts argues that national cinemas have often been conceived in response to Hollywood, which enacts a binary system of thought rooted in a first (781). The conventional framework positions national cinema operating in opposition to Hollywood as a form of cultural imperialism dominating the marketpl ace, but this has not always been or every was the primary explanation for the majority of filmmaking around the world. Crofts argues that this master slave binary has been used historically to legitimize film as an nal pride and assertion at home and abroad of national been associated with national cinema studies in Europe, but this framework continues to function under and privilege the Western perspective that assumes a nation has a concrete geo political border with little to no movement across state lines, which becomes increasingly problematic in heightened conditions of globalization.
14 Globalization refers to multip le conditions associated directly or indirectly with the flow of capital around the world whereas transnationalism signifies cultural production and exchange made possible by this recent and most extreme form of late capitalism. After discussing the assum ptions and limitations embedded in the traditional model of national cinema studies, it becomes clear that a variant method of scholarship should emerge that takes into account what national cinema studies cannot: transnational movement and influences acro ss geo political boundaries. In their introduction to Transnational Cinema: the Film Reader editors Elizabeth a and Rowden situate cinema in debates on transnationalism to suggest that what is new about contemporary forms of transnational cinema lies in the shifting conditions of financing, production, distribution, and exhibition: The global circulation of money, commodities, information, and human beings is giving rise to films whose aesthetic and narrative dynamics, and even the modes of emotional identification they elicit, reflect the impact of advanced capitalism and new media technologies as components of an increasingly interconnected world system. (1) While the nationality of a film still carries meaning, especially when circulating as a commodity director for int the varying influences of global exchanges manifest in cinematic practices around the world. Films that are strongly transnational typically engage in themes regarding dislocation, migration, in globalization (Ezra and Rowden 7).
15 The paradigm shift from national to transnational cinema studies can also be found in the changing economic structure of film industries. The classical Hollywood model, develope d in of distinct film studios operating through vertical integration and ownership of most if not all means of production. With the collapse of the studio sy emerged in which film studios came to resemble distribution companies that bought and distributed individual films financed through independent resources. Today, all of the Hollywood major studios function primarily as distribution companies owned by large, far reaching multinational media corporations. These global media companies include: Time Warner (Warner Bros., Castle Rock, New Line); Disney (Buena Vista, Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone, Miramax, Pixar); Viacom (Paramount Pictures, Dreamworks Animation SKG, Paramount Vantage); Sony (Columbia Pictures, TriStar, Sony Pictures Classics, MGM/UA); News Corp. (20 th Century Fox, Fox 2000, Fox Searchlight); and NBC Universal (Universal, Working Title, Focus Films). 7 Fi lm companies now have access to more resources than ever before as part of media empires with investments and companies in various industries around the world. In their latest edition of Film History (2010), David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson argue that mergers of multinational corporations during the 1990s due to deregulation, a move toward free flowing capitalist economy, and the opening up of borders and quotas produced a media lobalization, the (694). While the contemporary form of globalization arises out of specific political, economic, and social conditions, Bordwell and Thomps on claim that the idea of globalization is not new,
16 and that its other most recent form appeared between 1850 and 1920 during which people began ause modern forms of cinema production, distribution, exhibition, and marketing require a certain degree of capital to engage with far reaching audiences on a meaningful level, cinema is inevitably going to be tied to economic forces and the market place l ogic of globalization in order to return a profit on investment. However, cinema also functions as a cultural product of increasing transnational forces, which raises questions about the relationship between national cinemas, cultural imperialism, and tra nsnationalism. Recent national cinemas studies have attempted to situate film in relation to the enormous multinational system consisting of TV networks, new technologi es of production and distribution, and international co made possible by globalization, Chaudhuri an interconnectedness among various global forces that contribute to the production of a world cinema. Dennis and Lim focus on the interconnectedness of cinematic practices and cultures in the age of globaliza The impact of globalization on national cinema studies can be se en in its revised terminology and framework as a positive move from the Western
17 recurring throughout film studies in national cinema. Ezra and Rowden agree that one of the values of transnational cinema is its abilit y to incorporate Hollywood and European cinema respecting it as Because transnational cinema emphasizes the hybrid and heterogeneous nature of cultural production, this approach differs from the traditional model offered by national cinema studies. In the preface to World Cinemas, Trans national Perspectives (2010), editor Natasa Durovicova the formation identified as transnational is a fundamentally spatial construct, reflects a relatively contemporary development within the unfolding process of globalization, and presents itself as related to globalization. This is especially evident in Europe following the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the formation of the European Union in 1993. Therefore, critical film analysis in transnational cinema studies explores the way in which contemporary films construct space as a political referent to th e actual redrawing of political and cultural boundaries during this period oriented critically, and diachronically. Methodologically varied, they propose revisions of global/above (x). The second approach involves temporality and shifting historical narratives away from national narratives to include transnational influence and exchange ; transnational films, then, transnational can register spatially or historically, inviting us to study how films imagine and
18 construct a new geo politic al space in which constructions of identity can be tied to shifting narratives in history. Another approach to transnational cinema studies involves a more systematic, categorical methodology to differentiate competing forms of transnationalism. Mette H jort, editor of the anthology Cinema & Nation critical tool for understanding contemporary film production, many authors discuss it in general terms with little to no clarification. In he clarified and productive research: epiphanic transnationalism, affinitive transnationalism, milieu building transnationali sm, opportunistic transnationalism, cosmopolitan transnationalism, globalizing transnationalism, auteurist transnationalism, modernizing transnationalism, and speci fic approaches to locate the transnational as it registers on various levels and takes on many (plural and hybrid) forms in film texts. While not mutually exclusive, the most applicable forms to this study on two films directed by Anthony Minghella includ for his films rely on transnational sources of finance made possible by globalization, and text and an icon of a national c inema. While globalization has allowed for people to move across borders and has made a space for their stories to be told on film, the danger of globalization as it relates to film studies is the homogenizing threat of Hollywood as a dominant form of ci nema in which cultural specificity may be elided in favor of strict narrative demands, easily recognizable stereotypes, and conservative (and commercially driven) forms of representation. The cultural imperialism
19 argument has long been attached to Hollywo od filmmaking and its role in the global cinematic marketplace. However, Hollywood is no longer the most prolific or the most successfully financial film industry in the world, operating alongside the popularity of Hong Kong cinema, the Lagos now at stake in film studies is the question of how motion pictures register, at formal level of n arrative, broad and long term social formations, that is, changes in the capitalist world economy to different audiences throughout history, and the nationa l framework for understanding cinema cultures around the world simply does not take into account the full range of signification and meaning offered by a given film text. As Hollywood studios and European film companies have a stake in transnational media corporations which allow for greater transnational exchange and influence, it is imperative that we understand and approach the hybrid nature of contemporary cultural production. on of British cinema will help to situate his work in relation to debates around globalization and national the UK of any influence rather that great talent an d great films have occasionally emerged in industry has repeatedly been on the verge of collapse during the 20 th century and the successes were more often than not inema
20 among British cinema scholars including Andrew Higson, Claire Monk, Stuart Hall, and John Hill about the political implications of these films as representat ions of Thatcher ideology of the identification while simultaneously offering a conservative spectacle of excess in the mise en scene bound up in class elitism (Dave 31). Other successful genres in contemporary British film include the horror film ( 28 Days Later ), the gangster film ( Snatch ), the comedy ( Holiday ), the real ist drama ( Billy Eliot ), and the historical costume drama ( The Queen ). 8 ose narrative structure, aesthetic experimentation, and slower pace. The European model has historically consisted of separate national cinemas yet this has become increasingly problematic with the formation of the European Union in 1993 and the subsequent shifting populations across national borders. Writing in 2005 for Screen Wendy readings, are perpetually transformative in the open ended personal journeys they offer, and thus capable of borders plays a significant role in analyzing the trans become especially meaningful in contemporary European cinema.
21 Anthony Minghella was a film director often associated with British cinema. Born on the Isle of Wight in 1954, Minghella grew up as the son of Italian immi grants who owned an ice cream shop. He identified himself as British but was ultimately ambivalent about nationality: When I was a kid, I was very conscious of the fact that we had a completely different culture to all of my friends. It was an extremel y homogeneous society, nationalism what it means to be nationalistic. (Minghella and Bricknell 34) T hese views concerning problems of nationality and cultural identity have informed much of The English Patient The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), a psychological thriller that follows four Americans vacationing in Italy during the Cold Mountain Civil War, and Breaking and Entering With the tremendous success of The English Patient at the 1997 Oscars Minghella became known as an internatio nal British director eventually becoming a chairman in 2003 of the British Film Institute (BFI), funded in part by the UK Film Council. The chief executive office of the UK Film Council, John Woodward, described t ultimately he was one of the great British Productions) with Sydney P ollack, a veteran Hollywood producer, but his association with promoting British film continued until his sudden death from complications due to surgery in 2008. What he leaves behind are only a handful of films but his legacy remains open for debate. I only in terms of transnational film theory but also in auteurism. The auteur theory, originally developed in the 1950s by French film critics (Andre Bazin, Francois Truf faut) writing for the magazine Cahiers du Cinema and translated by American Andrew Sarris in 1962, claims that the
22 director has the most creative control over a film and was loosely modeled after the European politique des auteurs emerged out of specific historical and cultural conditions in Paris following WWII: Hollywood films, previously censored during the war, flooded theater screens; critics writing for Cahiers fr Cinematheque ; and these same critics were able to discern similarities among various genre films American directors like Nicholas Ray, Alfred Hitchcock, and Howard Hawks, so implicit in the national cinema approach in film studies, the popularity of the auteur theory coincided with the institutionalization of academic film studies in America and was thus used as a methodological approach to film as an artistic expression. The primary attack against auteurism, however, claims that the director is not always the primary creative force of a film and film is an inherently different medium than literature, for it involves many more people and factors that problematize y as one approach to film studies most prominently as a means of categorizing a group of films with a common thread (the director). Rather than starting with the director and imposing a personal selves (the films) in order to suggest common themes or cinematic techniques regarding the director. director, this does not necessarily mean that I believe Minghella is the sole creative force on any of the films. However, the discussion of his work emerges out of the film texts themselves. One can recognize strong themes of identity, nationality, and the transnational running throughout
23 individual film but also how they signif y in relation to one another. Minghella began his career as an academic teaching theater at Hull University before writing plays professionally, which led to work in British television and then feature length films. In the collection of his writings Ming hella on Minghella activity, that is the activity which has most defined me and still most defines me. I love writing. table with myself, oddly, or I feel wrote the screenplay for a short segment in the omnibus film New York, I Love You (2009) and the Fellini inspired musical Nin e (2009) without directing either of these projects. Because of his deep investment in the writing and directing processes of his films, auteurism becomes an appealing approach to describe and to analyze his films. Pure auteurists might denounce Minghell or the UK); however, his films embody artistic merit and I argue that his work should be considered from an auteurist perspective.
24 CHAPTER 2 THE ENGLISH PATI ENT : CRITIQUING NATIONA TRANSNATIONAL IDENTI TY AND SPACE theoretical method similar to Duricova and Hjort to suggest the ways in which these films the political phenomenon compounded by conditions of globalization) or time (as historiographic narratives positioned ty and migration are privileged in transnationalism, the ways in which a film constructs and imagines space becomes particularly valuable. Furthermore, Hjort suggests that scholars working in cinematic transnationalism should take into account the various forms of transnationalisms to make research more focused and subsequently more productive. To examine the multiple levels at establish a discourse as a point of departure; second, a brief production context to reveal the transnationality, and questions of identity in each film; and finally, I analyze filmic style and aesthetics in approaching these texts from a film studies perspective. Ultimately, I approach exhibit strong forms of transnational filmmaking yet The English Patient and Breaking and Entering possess varying degrees of transnationality that creates a tension in film form and content expressed through careful analysis. The English Patient has been criticized as regressive, orientalist, nostalgic, and highly romanticized compared to the novel. The film opened to generally favorable reviews in 1996 and swept the Academy Awards
25 by winning nine statuettes, including Best Director and Best Picture for M inghella. A surprise postmodern critique of nations and identity. While critics hailed the novel as a post colonial/ modern exploration of Western history and the dangers of nation based identity, they fault the marginalizatio The English Patient the English patient, elides the effect of the atomic bomb on of war. Together, these changes champion romance over history and assert the ethos of a world well lost for love. (229) patient and his love affair with Katharine as the dominant competing narratives as a consequence of running time and coherence. Even though Minghella has spoken publi cly about his admiration for the character Kip (lamenting his decreased presence necessary demand of narrative filmmaking, this omission nevertheless dominates the academic discourse of the film. 9 imperialist themes bound up in a conventional Hollywood form of representation, marks another source of tension. The English Patient : Criti Kranz provides a comprehensive survey of the discourse surrounding the film. He argues that The English Patient nor Ty ("The Other Questioned: Exoticism and Displacement in Michael
26 Ondaatje's The English Patient nationalist, whereas Jaqui Sadashige The English Patient and Maggie Morgan The En glish Patient spora in Time: The English Patient love story and the exotic appeal of the North African desert and the touristic gaze of the Tuscan critique against nationhood, colonialism, and ownership (131 32). The English Patient of all because of its popular success as well as its critical backlash. It is precisely this tension between the nationalist themes and the potential to recognize the transnational at work in the text that informs my reading as a productive move away from this literary/filmic binary. Although critics tend to read The English Patient as particularly nati onalist, the film embodies marked transnationality registering at many levels, including production. The film was a US UK co large budget for an independent film ($30 million) the film soon became one of the most (Higson, English Heritage, English Cinema marks on the transnational element to the film, despite its multinational cast and crew, and American capital, to adapt a novel about the contingency of identity by a Sri Lankan born Canadian resident ( The English Patient 1996), can its identity be
27 transnationality in many respects: British director (Minghella), American produc er (Saul Zaentz) and a multinational cast (British Ralph Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Colin Firth; French Juliette Binoche; American Willem Dafoe; British Naveen Andrews, of Indian descent) from a novel by Canadian author Michael Ondaatje, originally from Sri Lanka. The film was also produced in North Africa and Italy as the principal settings for the multiple storylines. Despite the cultural imperialist criticism on the film, it nevertheless registers strong transnationality at the level of product made possible by globalization. new telecommunications bill in 1996 that aided the formation of large transnational media cooptat postmodern raj of the film places it in the context of conditions of globalization in the 1990s but resorts to a reading of the film as strictly reinforcing the notion of Hollywood dominance through cultural imperialism. It is important to position the film within the period of its theatrical release but
28 productive discussion of the hybrid film. The strong form of transnational filmmaking evident in the production process is reinscribed in the narrative through theme and structure. The narrative consists of many characters and storylines told through cross cutting editing effects to create a highly fragmented narrative in the model of classical Hollywood. One sto ryline takes place in Italy in 1944 and involving a nurse named Hana (Juliette Binoche) who takes care of a burn victim in an abandoned villa. The mysterious burn victim, Count de Almasy (Ralph Fiennes), narrates his story to Hana under the heavy dosage o f morphine as flashback memories to North Africa when he worked as a mapmaker for the Royal Geographical Society during the 1930s. Prior to his physical effacement, Almasy meets desert explorers Geoffrey and Katharine Clifton from England. When her husba nd is sent on assignment by the British government, Katharine has an affair with Almasy in the desert, but their tragic love ends when Clifton purposefully crashes his plane with Katharine onboard. Almasy seeks refuge for the injured Katharine in the Cave of up selling his maps to the German government in exchange for a pl ane to rescue Katharine. Almasy finds Katharine dead in the cave and as he takes her body on the plane it is shot down, leaving him badly burned and transported to Italy. The film ends with a sense of closure as we elliptically return to the opening imag es of the plane flying over the desert in Africa. The leaving the villa on the back of a truck as she looks towards the obscured sun through the passing trees.
29 Alt hough the film privileges the love story between Almasy and Katharine as the primary narrative around which supporting roles are organized, the film nevertheless still contains a critique of nationalism by narrating stories of disapora, dislocation, and mi Italian frame story, Hana meets Kip, a Sikh sapper from India who becomes a love interest for the war widow. While we see their sweet courtship as survivors of the war, Kip learns that his mentor Sergeant Hardy has died, which lead s to his departure at the end of the film. Also at the villa is Caravaggio, a thief who knows Hana from their hometown of Montreal and who has a tangential past with the patient. The narrative in Italy thematically contrasts strongly with the narrative i n North Africa. Whereas the narrative in North Africa becomes a nostalgic and induced perspective, the characters in Italy are far less privileged or hopeful about the future. Ha na, Kip, Caravaggio, and the patient are survivors of the war who seek temporary asylum in the abandoned, bomb infested villa. The character Kip invokes notions of diasporic identity outside of India, but each of these characters in effect find themselves dislocated. None of these community in order to survive. At the level of narrative, the film is markedly transnational in its figuration of characters who are, world events. Albeit an historical costume drama, the film nevertheless resonates with the moment of its release, particularly as we can see these characters emerging as transnational subjects for ced to navigate an interstitial space created by global forces that critiques the stability of the nation state and the artificial boundaries it erects. The narrative of the film has been a contentious site of attack by critics who claim that the margina lization of secondary characters, in particular Kip, takes away from the postcolonial
30 film for privileging the storyline between Almasy and Katharine, the white protagonists, over Kip, whose story in the novel is the most critical of nationhood and Western forms of identity. st. The film elides this directly political ending for Kip, instead providing the death of a male friend as the impetus for his departure. Andrew Shin romance a national eroticism [as suggested by Leslie Fiedler], it is I suspect, an eroticized nationalism that perhaps the single most controversial aspect in the academic discourse, but it nevertheless comes from a position of prior knowledge with the source material that fails to take into account the film on its own terms. While I agree that the ending to the film is far less polemical compared to which the film engages in modes of transnationality becomes meaningful and productive as a way to describe how the film functions both in terms of formal elements and narrative content. While the marked transnationality in the narrative comes directly from its source in critique of nationhood in the narrative through sound, editing, and mise en scene. Diegetic and non diegetic sound function as a site of the marked transnationalism of the film. In her book The English Patient : a Film Score Guide (2004), Heather Laing outlines the sound landscape of the film: [Yared] did not author the whole score; it encompasses, overall, two Hungarian folk songs, Arabic music, various American popular songs and jazz classics, a
31 Christmas carol, the British national an them, an operatic aria and, of course, J.S. Goldberg Variations into a largely nineteenth century Romantic idiom. (116 17) Laing claims that the film score is comprised of various cultural sources and influences that collectively serve the transnational themes of the narrative. The sources range from high to low to popular music, among many national influences to suggest that music, like people, can travel beyond the geo political boundaries of the nation state. Music functions in direct accordance with the cultural imaginary that the film projects through narrative and nostalgic modes of representation. For example, the Hungarian folk song ( Szerelem, Szerelem ) becomes an aural motif that blurs the cultural binary between East and West. The song first appears in the opening credits as we see a close up of someone painting an ambiguous image of a desert (or a human swimmer) es the voice of Marta Sebestyen, which we hear during the opening credits as it eventually leads into the Desert Theme as the graphic match of the painted image in the cave is superimposed onto the actual desert landscape. The song can be heard in improvi sational forms throughout the film, most harmonically fluid imp rovisatory sound. The pitch range is limited largely to one octave and the 19). The voice in vokes Arabic music yet it is Hungarian, a tension that Laing describes as symptomatic to the themes found in the narrative. In his writings on music in Minghella on Minghella (2005), be Hungarian, which I thought was perfect index of what the book was talking about that identity, nationality and
32 in which the film registers an engagement with transnational cultural significance. In the in the film. The t ransnational dimension of the film is not limited to the narrative; rather, the soundtrack works in relation to the narrative to produce a transnational soundscape. The film extends a critique of nationality and borders through formal film elements like so und and editing. One of the most striking aesthetic achievements of the film remains its seamless editing motivated by graphic matches and musical cues that connect the disparate narratives and characters among multiple locations and time periods. Discu ssing his views on achieved by manipulating the grammar of film, where shot size, camera angle and movement, the length of a shot, the amount of light on a subject, the palate of colours and, most playwright, Minghella considers himself to be a man of language, and he imagines the construction of a film through linguistic metaphor. It is only fitting, then, that when asked what 10 th Pudovkin considered editing to be the essence of cinema, and they both theorized and practiced a dialectical form of editing in which succeeding images clash with one a nother in order to reflect
33 function as emphatically political as Eise Strike (1925) or Battleship Potemkin (1925), 11 Because the film juggles mul tiple characters with storylines, editing becomes a salient feature of its aesthetic functioning. Coming from a literary background in adapting the poetry of conn ect the vignettes in the narrative. This technique of editing can be seen in the very first cut of the film, as we see an image of desert from an aerial view superimposed onto the painted image of the desert during the opening credit sequence. The cut mo ves from inside the Cave of Swimmers to a high, God like position in the sky as the camera angles down on the desert. The effect of the cut becomes a visual representation of the poetic trope of metaphor: visually, the film compares an ambiguous image of a human swimmer or desert to an actual desert, registered through montage. A similar technique appears in the first flash back to the desert. In the frame story, when Almasy drops his scrapbook of Herodotus onto the floor of the villa, the image of the o pen book then fades in to a similar image of the desert in the scrapbook, but this time film establishes the primary characters in this storyline, the motivation back to the villa comes from another graphic match in which the sand dunes of the desert fade in to the wrinkles of advocated by Minghella in his writings, an d they serve as an intertextual adaptation of While the editing effect is well done, it also serves to underscore the primary theme to eradicate geo political boundaries imposed by the traditional nation state. Almasy and Katharine
34 sha re a desire to transgress traditional boundaries (geographical, marital, physical, etc.), which are coded through discourses of nationalism and territorial boundaries of the nation state. The editing in the film functions similarly to transgress tradition al boundaries of time and space in that it constructs a fragmented narrative structure to oppose limitations of the metaphoric nation state. The film creates a postcolonial critique of territorial nation states by constructing a world in which the camera moves freely from one space to another, from one time period to another, thus imagining a geo political (and filmic) landscape which knows no boundaries in the cultural erialist discourse in eliding differences in empty space and time; or as part of the critique of nationalist discourses in suggesting that editing allows us to imagine and to traverse a terrain outside of geo political formations. The film imagines a trans national space through filmic elements of editing and mise en scene. The two primary narratives are set in the desert of North Africa and the abandoned villa in war torn Italy, which serve as locations temporally before and after World War II. The film r epresents the narrative in North Africa as a pre war exotic landscape the desert, the market, spectator. The post war narrative, however, set mostly in the villa, i s shot in a similar style but lacks the visual pleasure implicated in sweeping shots of the African desert in the mise en scene; the style is more realistic than romantic, the tone of colors muted with little sunlight, and the landscape ravished by the war In effect, each space reflects the psychological plight of the transnational characters. The pre war desert landscape offers a fluid geo political space in the traumatized memory of Almasy, who portrays himself as a desert romantic fighting for the abo lition of maps and ownership of land. The post war Italian villa, then, becomes an unlikely
35 and left homeless in a foreign land. Each character represents the themes of dislocation and migration, but the difference between the two forms lies in the fact that the characters in the post war setting had no choice while Almasy and Katharine clearly did. The post war characters are survivors and their situation res onates in the context of Europe with the Bosnian Wars of the 1990s leading to hundreds of refugees seeking asylum across the continent. In its reimaging of the historical past, The English Patient reflects certain anxieties about nationalism, national ide ntity, and geo political borders at the time of its release in 1996. The film critiques nationhood through its embodiment of transnational cultural production which registers on many levels: production, narrative, sound, editing, and mise en scene. Thus the film serves as a unique example of a representation complementary to, not in contention with, its progressive ideological message. The film creates an argument f or the eradication of identity based on nationhood in imagining a community of characters who no longer subscribe to the Western teleology of history but who engage in the emerging transnational discourse propounded by contemporary conditions of globalizat ion.
36 CHAPTER 3 BREAKING AND ENTERIN G : MAPPING TRANSNATIO NAL NARRATIVES THROU GH FLUCTUATING ARCHITEC TURE IN LONDON While the historical epic The English Patient critiques nationhood as a privileged construction of identity through a strongly marke d form of transnational filmmaking, Breaking and Entering released roughly ten years later, similarly invokes transnational modes of experience through a contemporary narrative set in London. Setting becomes an important element in the f discussion of postcolonial fiction in Imagining London world that since the 1980s has become increasingly interlinked through a process of es so reaching cause effect events. Actions made in becomes a potential replacement for attenuated, compromised, conflicted, undesirable, or unreachable spaces of national belonging. It becomes a locus for the construction of emergent sensibilities that are both transnational (in the spatial sense of inha nationalist discourse, which has traditionally prescribed either/or binaries based on e ssentialist notions of culture, ethnicity, linguistics, and gender. Because the physical site of London operates through expansive modes of globalization, it takes on a new significance during this period.
37 The critical study of London as a site for confli cting forms of representation has produced a large amount of research in film studies. Recent work on cinematic representations of London include London in Cinema (2007) by Charlotte Brunsdon and London from Punk to Blair (2003) edited by Kerr and Gibson. Breaking and Entering is only one in a series of films about Beautiful People (1999), The Last Resort (2000), Dirty Pretty Things (2002), and Calais (2003). 12 London has b ecome a city in which filmmakers can explore issues relating to transnational identity as it represented as magical and fantastical, epitomized in a film like Notting Hill (1999), but the 28 Days Later (2002), Creep (2004), Children of Men (2006), From Hell (2001), V for Vendetta (2005) (Leggott 39). James Leggott argues in his bo ok Contemporary British Cinema (2008) that geographical investigation of a London haunted by its literary and politica Breaking and Entering can best be described as a socially aware melodrama set in London that not only represents the city at a moment of transition but also as a forces of globalization and transnational migration. Breaking and Entering has received little academic attention, due partly to its recent The English Patient Breaking and Entering was neither a hit at the box office nor a critical succes s. In fact, it earned less than $9 million in its theatrical release at the global box office, far less than
38 Patient 13 Because of the enormous attention surrounding The English Patient and its sweep at the Academy Awards, academics in literature style of representation. One of the benefits of analyzing Breaking and Entering however, is that t he secondary literature has been limited and remains unexplored in detail. The film received generally average to mediocre reviews that may be responsible for the limited research. Writing in Sight & Sound Liese Spencer summarizes his view of the film: film, Truly, Madly, Deeply (1991), was cloyingly whimsical, Breaking and Entering is almost unbearably earnest: striving for an inte importance with its tackling of social issues but is ultimately uninteresting and uninvolving. I n his review in The New York Times comes to rest with a smile of virtuous complacency on its fac privileged white perspective adopted in the film, which attempts to explore issues of identity in globalization and transnationalism but ends up reinscribing certain binaries associated with epresentation too conservative and its screenplay too schematic, the film paints an unrealistic and pretentious gloss of cultural identity in contemporary London. While the critical panning of the film may have contributed to the lack of academic work on t he subject, the film has been referenced in a few works on British cinema. British cinema scholar James Leggott discusses the film in the context of contemporary representations of class been embedded within a
39 of the Breaking and Entering is one example of a contemporary film set in Britain that addresses the state of the nation in conditions of globalization. Within these changing political and economic conditions through cinema. Ultimately Leggott argues that Breaking and Entering film abo ut the unease of the professional middle classes than as a nuanced social mapping of perspective of white privilege that reflects anxiety more than cultural specificity. The particular Brunsdon in her book London in Cinema (2007), in which she praises the film for its unique exploration of a city in flux through the metaphor of arc hitecture (217). Except for the viewpoints from Leggott and Brunsdon, the film has received little academic scholarship since its release in 2006. Through the careful analysis of production context, narrative, and formal style (shot properties and mise en scene), I argue that the film functions as a meaningful attempt to engage in contemporary notions of identity in globalization but ultimately it embodies a weak form of transnational cultural production marked for a specifically national audience. The fi lm was co The English Patient and which has a reputation for serious, award worthy films, and Mirage Enterprises, the company co owned by Minghella and Sidney Pollack. Minghella bo th directed and wrote the screenplay, a contemporary set drama unlike his previous work in historical epics ( The English Patient and Cold Mountain ). The casting choices resemble the transnational appeal of The English Patient : Jude Law (British), Juliett e Binoche (French), Robin Wright Penn (American).
40 The film, however, was not a success with audiences or critics, but it did receive three nominations by the British Independent Film Awards, including two for best actress (Binoche and Penn) and one for mo st promising newcomer (Rafi Gavron). 14 The specific casting choices in the film, particularly the French Binoche playing a Bosnian refugee and Penn playing a transn ationality of the film becomes so marked that it is difficult to watch the film in terms of realism. 15 At the time of its production in 2005 and its release in 2006, the film situates itself into contemporary discussions of British national identity. Le ggot claims that Britain experienced an of the European Union and the influx of economic migrants from Eastern Europe, a fluctuating political relationship wi th and the US, and an acknowledgement of ethnic and cultural diversity that has found bold new expression through second and third generations of immigrant immigrant family on the Isle of Wight, is a second generation immigrant filmmaker in the context of British cinema, and the film can be read as an exploration of nationalist attitudes towards a new wave of immigrants in globalization. In their discussion of transnational cinema, Ezra and Rowden su contextualization of the film in response to contemporary transnational migration in Europe: of national boundaries that accompanied the huge exp ansion of the European Union in 2004, tirades against asylum seekers reached near fever pitch in countries such as Britain and France
41 Rowden discuss Britain as a country specifically dealing with issues related to conditions of globalization evident in the national newspapers, which have been used historically as an instrument to promote nationalist discourses 16 Therefore, the production context of the film how the film functions through transnational cinema. The narrative involves transnational themes such as migration across borders, living in the diaspora, and hybrid constructions of identity in the interstitial metropolis. Will is a stereotypical white, middle the British urban plans for reconstructing the urban space are stolen, Will assumes responsibility for finding the burglar. His search eventually leads him to Amira and Miro, a mother and son who escaped from Bosnia to seek refuge in London. After Will asks Amira, who works as a seamstress, to tailor his clothin Faced with an either or binary, Will can either enable Miro to return home by publicly admitting his discretions with Amira, which would expose his infidelity to girlfriend Liv, or he can send Miro to prison by denying any previous encounters with Miro or Amira and claiming Miro broke into the office involvement with the break in, thus dismissing Miro of the criminal charges and allowing him to return with his mother to Sarajevo. The film suggests that this is a happy ending for the principal characters (Will, Liv, Amira, and Miro) because Amira and Miro are able to leave the disapora
42 roposal for marriage. The narrative effectively maps out characters from various backgrounds to suggest the in girlfriend who is half Ameri can and half Swedish and who ran away from her husband in Sweden with her autistic daughter, Bea; and Oana, a prostitute from Romania who encounters Will when he patrols his office building in the evenings. While the narrative centers around Will and his relationship among Liv, Oana, and Amira, the range of characters and their importance in the unfolding of the narrative depict London as a city in flux that is opening up to previously underrepresented cultural and ethnic minorities. Amira and ies symbolize an attempt to represent modes of transnational identity in London. Amira and Miro have been displaced following the Bosnian conflict and their migration to London carries resonance in actual events following the expansion of the European Uni on in 2004 (Ezra and Rowden 8). When Will meets Amira for the first time at her apartment, she associated with geo political displacement. Amira and Miro are Muslim, and late in the film, after Miro has been detained, we see Amira attending a community event in which individuals following transnational migration. Amir people live or die by names. This statement echoes the larger themes at stake in The English Patient regarding names and national markers of
43 Miro become transnational subjects working through issues of diasporic displace ment, but the representation of certain characters undermines the agenda of the film to engage in a critical discussion of identity politics in contemporary London. The film tries to explore contemporary forms of transnational identity but the reliance on binary thinking obscures its potential for meaningful critique. Because the narrative is told mostly from the perspective of Will, Amira and Miro become exoticized Others in relation to his girlfriend, Liv, and her daughter, Bea. The film opens with a he ad on image of Will and Liv riding in a car through the streets of London; the voice over narration by Will along with the reflection of the glass on the windshield suggests both aurally and visually that their relationship is in a state of crisis. Scenes between Will and Liv open and close the film, in effect providing a frame for understanding the trangsgressions and closure within the narrative. We learn through ured as as hyper sexualized (similar to Oana as the foreign prost itute). Likewise, the film structures curricular activities like g ymnastics. The binaries between Liv/Amira and Bea/Miro reveal a structuring principle to understand how the narrative works in the film, but it ultimately becomes the point at which its progressive values become most regressive. The reliance on binary str uctures for the narrative carries with it the dichotomy between Us vs. Them, which enacts xenophobia in discourses of transnational identity. By using binary structures in service of the narrative, the film creates a boundary between people of varying cul tural backgrounds whose
44 identity is structured outside of strict national binaries. Transnational identity itself implies both and as opposed to either or constructions of selfhood. Rather than engaging in a nuanced exploration of transnational identity in London, the film draws upon ethnic stereotypes and reverts to either or binary forms of narrative and representation to construct a conservative view toward diasporic communities and transnational modes of experience. Problematic nationalist binaries al so appear in the style of the film through elements of cinematography and mise en scene. The film mostly conforms to classical modes of narrative in the Hollywood continuity tradition, which privileges the role of narrative and identification as guiding p rinciples for other elements involved in the filmmaking process. However, the film exhibits a few noteworthy camera techniques that help to visualize the narrative through images. edroom when they sharp cuts between Will and Liv in their dialogue, but the racking focus in the final shot connects Will and Liv in the same frame and focus i n order to suggest an overcoming of distance in their relationship. Another salient camera technique, the camera zoom, is used when cutting to Will at work. He receives a call on his cell phone and realizes he is late for his appointment with Liv at ther apy, and the camera zooms in on Will at the construction site. At another point in the film, apartment and the images become surprisingly blurry and unfocused wh en Will exits through the staircase. Because the narrative motivates many of the formal elements of the film, stylistic features relating to camerawork are mostly used to serve the narrative and create an illusionistic form of representation. That being said, these three instances of unconventional camerawork stand out in the formal context of representation but it is significant that they remain tied to Will.
45 The film privileges Will as the protagonist and his perspective stabilizes most of the events i n the narrative. Therefore, the unconventional camerawork involving racking and blurring focus help experiment in scenes with characters more markedly transnational like Amira, Miro, and Oana. The mise en scene functions as another stylistic element through which the film explores the transnational. The most significant feature of the mise en scene i s its setting in London. In Cities and Cinema (2008), transnational cinema scholar Barbara Mennel discusses the topography of metropolitan areas with the transn narrative topics and representations of the city as a space of alienation and solidarity, the films (201). Mennel cl aims that cities become a privileged space for cinematic narratives in globalization because they create space in which people are connected through globalized modes of production and their very make up suggests changing demographics of society. Breaking and Entering transnational refugee who chooses crime over education. The film encourages u s to understand London as an appropriate setting to explore issues of transnational identity in part through the trope of architecture. Architecture plays an important role in global cities because it can influences. The architecture of the city changes according to the inhabitants, and the changing social demographics through conditions of globalization has a visual effect on the urban
46 landscape. The fact that Will is an architect also compounds the importance of architecture and space in the transnational dimension of the film. Architecture functions as a visual metaphor for the changing global metropolis in transnational migration. The film begins with a head on shot of Will and Liv driving through space of mobility and the film next cuts to the in medias res construction project that Will rent area of London inhabited by cultural and ethnic minorities, and the film acknowledges this problematic image pe. This and their project to renovate the slum will alleviate the current state of urban decay. Architecture in Whi le the project may appear as a progressive attempt to raise living standards and quality of life for the primarily immigrant and diasporic communities, the prostitute Oana critiques the source his car later in the film, she says he is constructing the project for people he does not even understand, like Oana herself. Oana night encounters with Oana reveal that while his agenda is good na tured it nevertheless comes from a particular privileged class position that marks his ignorance to understand the very people that he tries to help. The interiors of the mise en scene also operate according to binary forms of representation that challenge
47 apartment is represented as immaculate, modern, open, and white in both furnishin gs and the color scheme. The film shows us the space through soft beiges, grays, whites, and mirrors to Nordic). mediately bars any visitor from entering the space; indeed, the gate functions as a literal physical barrier between Amira and Will when he first asks for her tailoring service. The interior is represented as cluttered and busy; Amira works from home as a seamstress so garments can be seen hung up or laid out in various places. displays the architectural models that he stole, the tight walls seem to be closing i n on him. Miro has little mobility in such strict confines, whereas Bea can easily practice gymnastics in her room (evident in her first scene). Miro displays similar acrobatics as Bea, but his actions are performed outside on the playground or on the ro oftops as a means of escape. His ability to as a mobile character that further signifies his transnational identity. The film sets up binaries between the t wo privates spaces in the mise en scene to suggest a fundamental difference of inhabiting the same urban space. It is right to assume that Will has a vastly different construction of private space than Amira and Miro based on class, economic, and cultural factors, but the film erects a binary between the two characters that fails to consider experience but the binary approach to representation hinders the credib ility of the political and cultural issues at stake. Transnational modes of experience are often characterized through a hybrid sense of identity and space produced by displacement and mobility, and the film easily
48 slips into a binary thinking that makes little room for nuance or hybridity in its construction of the mise en scene. Ultimately, Breaking and Entering is a conventional melodrama that wants to address migr ation while at the same time features conservative forms of representation to construct a binary that only emphasizes difference rather than understanding. Returning to the ending of the prison or he can deny his involvement with Amira and blame Miro for the break in. The ending is problematic not least of the helpless immigrant who needs t o be rescued by a wealthy white man. The film offers no other choice for Miro besides a prison cell or deportment; it assumes Miro can only survive in Amira rn is not a conscious decision on their own doing. They are at the hands of Will, serving as pawns of his access to power. Rather than finding a way for Miro and Amira to survive and to prosper in London as directly engages in narratives of globalization through Amira and Miro, it nevertheless falls into conventional tra ps of representation by constructing a binary among different modes of experience and relying on stereotypes (Amira and Oana as sexualized and exotic; Liv as frigid and depressed; Miro as a criminal) to narrate their stories. Therefore, the film signifies a weak
49 form of transnationality that is marked by a strongly national audience in its re inscription of xenophobic attitudes towards transnational figures.
50 CHAPTER 4 CONCLUSION: MINGHELL RIST TRANSNATIONALIS M In analyzing how B reaking and Entering and The English Patient engage in issues of transnational identity politics, I have argued for the importance of Minghella as a transnational filmmaker in British cinema while at the same time pointing to the ways in which his films, w hile progressive in subject matter, may rely too heavily on genre and binary thinking to make an emphatic claim on contemporary notions of the nation. In this paper I have approached the but that concept can only be so productive. As I have demonstrated, each of these terms is problematic in its own right and demands further work, but the provisional concept does allow for opening a discussion of shifting con texts that can lead to productive discussions of cinema under conditions of globalization. I have positioned Anthony Minghella as an important auteur associated with British cinema during the 1990s and 2000s and whose work becomes particularly meaningful in discourses of globalization and transnational cultural production. I have also attempted to overcome the binaries between theories of national and world cinema in film studies to emphasize the rhetoric of an intervention based on increasingly visibilit y of transnational narrative and funding as well as the displacement of national cinemas in globalization. Minghella becomes a key figure in British national cinema as it makes a stake in transnational cultural production through the political themes and cinematic modes of representation in his films. While his films may not be particularly innovative in representation, operating primarily through traditional modes of narrative cinema, they nevertheless embody certain features of transnationalism both tex tually and contextually that signify a cultural shift away from national constructions of identity in favor of transnational modes of experience.
51 While Breaking and Entering would appear to be the more critical film as it directly narrates themes of migrat derivative form of representation actually pales in comparison to the epic approach in The English Patient This film is able to more effectively resonate with a transnational audience not only through narrative but also through representation, as it sets up a romantic and imaginary notion of national difference only to critique it as illusory and problematic. These films mark attempts in British cinema to respond to contemporary debates o n globalization, the state of the nation, and transnational communities in the disapora from an internationally known British director involved in building up the national industry as a chairman of the British Film Institute (BFI). If British cinema as an industry hopes to continue to circulate films in a transnational context it will need not only to represent modes of transnational experience but also to do so through a style that can adequately address and represent those experiences through nuance and specificity. Both of these films actively question nationhood as a marker of identity, and in that sense they make a meaningful contribution to transnational cinema. However, Minghella himself embodies the role of the transnational filmmaker not only thro ugh thematic concerns of the films but also in his filmmaking process. By analyzing the production context of The English Patient and Breaking and Entering I have shown the extent to which Minghella has relied on transnational sources of financing and pr oduction in order to make his films. He has filmed in North Africa and Italy for a majority of The English Patient in London for Breaking and Entering in Romania for Cold Mountain (2003), and in Botswana for the television pilot of The ective Agency (2008). His casting choices also range among various nationalities, as outlined in the discussion of both films. If as Ezra and Rowden believe
52 transnationalism results from new conditions of financing, production, distribution, and receptio n borders and the economic consolidation of transnational media cor porations (1). Although I position Minghella as an important figure in British national cinema, it is with boundaries of the nation state. Minghella at onc e signifies British cinema but at the same time goes beyond the geo political territory to represent a filmmaker of transnational influences. In filmmaking countries, specifically in the context of Europe. His films not only imagine communities of transnational characters but they also embody that very idea through production The national frameworks for understanding cinemas around the world does not take into account the complexity of conditions involved in contemporary modes of filmmaking under gm in film studies as limiting and ultimately unsatisfactory, embodying an argument for transnational modes of experience that take into account the structures of contemporary social and political life.
53 NOTES 1. Elizabeth Ezra and Terry Rowden addre ss the impact of digital technology on official national film cultures: The falling cost of digital filmmaking equipment, which enables individuals to shoot and edit their own films on personal computers without studio backing, has facilitated the rise of a culture of access that functions as a delegitimating shadow of the official film cultures of most nation states as they have been determined by the processes of 2. nsnational Documentaries: A discussion of the U.S. Congress passing a monumental telecommunications bill in 1996 that encouraged the rise of media conglomerates (97). 3. What is Globalization (2000) as an example of a text that tries to legitimize globalization as a phenomenon as part of its agenda. 4. Cinema and Nation (2000), in which they outline the prevalence of national cinema studies in academic research, espe cially edited anthology Theorising National Cinema (2008) for recent scholarship concerning the contemporary conditions o f globalization. 5. An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Disaporic Filmmaking (2001) for a comprehensive study of exilic and diasporic cinema as it engages in transnational modes of experiences. 6. ude: (1) European Model Art Cinemas; (2) Third Cinema; (3) Third World and European Commercial Cinemas; (4) Ignoring Hollywood; (5) Imitating Hollywood; (6) Totalitarian Cinemas; (7) Regional/Ethnic Cinemas. 7. This list can be found in Bordwell and Thompso Film History: An Introduction (665), and these statistics date to late 2008. 8. Contemporary British Cinema: from Heritage to Horror (2008). 9. The English Patient : A Screenplay (1997), Anthony Minghella writes, commission, my misjudgments and betrayals; they were all made in the spirit of translating the screenplay, Ondaatje also with the intimate pace and detail of a three hundred page novel, and one that is the length of a vivid and subtle film. Each has its o wn organic structure. There are obvious differences 10. The English Patient: A Screenplay (1997).
54 11. On the DVD commentary track Minghella comments on the fragmented narrati ve style of the f ilm. This quote can be attributed to his comment ary during the opening sequence. 12. ly 25). 13. Breaking and Entering earned approximately $930,469 million in the U.S., according to the website http://www.boxofficemojo.com/ The English Patient earned $231,976,425 million at the global box office, The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) earned $128,798,265 million, and Cold Mountain (2003) earned $173,013,509 million. 14. base web page for Breaking and Entering avai lable on the website http://www.imdb.com/ 15. 16. Benedict Anderson argues tha cultural imagination created through print (newspapers, novels, etc.) during the 1800s.
55 WORKS CITED Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities NY : Verso, 1991. Print. Ball, John Clement. Imagining London: Postcolonial Fiction and the Transnational Metropolis Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2004. Print. Beck, Ulrich. What is Globalization? Malden, MA: Polity P, 2000. Print. tive Agency Dir. Anthony Minghella. HBO. 15 Mar. 2009. Braudy, Leo, and Marshall Cohen, eds. Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings 7 th ed. N Y : Oxford UP, 2009. Print. Breaking and Entering Dir. Anthony Minghella. Perf. Jude Law, Juliette Binoche, and Robin Wright Penn. DVD. Miramax Films, 2006. Chaudhuri, Shohini. Contemporary World Cinema Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2005. Print. Cold Mountain Dir. Anthony Minghella. Perf. Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, and Renee Zellweger. DVD. Miramax Films, 2003. Braudy and Cohen 853 64. Dave, Paul. Visions of England: Class and Culture in Contemporary Cinema Talking Images Series. Oxford: Berg, 2006. Print. Dawtrey, Adam, Dade Hayes, and Ali Jaafar Variety 18 Mar. 2008 15 Sept. 2010 < http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117982586?refCatId=1236 >. Remapping World Cinema: Identity, Culture and Politics in Film London: Wallflower P, 2006. Print. 1 18. y and Cohen 877 85. Durovicova, Natasa and Kathleen Newman, eds. World Cinemas, Transnational Perspectives London and NY: Routledge, 2010. Print. Durovicova, Natasa. Durovicova and Newman ix xv. The English Patient Dir. Anthony Minghella. Perf. Ralph Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Juliette Binoche. DVD. Miramax Films, 1996. Ezra, Elizabeth, and Terry Rowden, eds. Transnational Cinema: The Film Reader London and NY: Routledge, 2006. Print.
56 --. Ezra and Roweden 1 12. Hess, John, and Patricia R. Zimmerman. Ezra and Rowden 97 108. Higson, Andrew. English Heritage, English Cinema: Costume Drama Since 1980 Oxford: Oxford UP, 2003. Print. --. Ezra and Rowden 15 25. Cinema and Nation London and NY: Routledge, 2000. Print. 1 16. Durovicova and Newma n 12 33. Kulturnation Johann Gottfried Herder: Academic Disciplines and the Pursuit of Knowledge Columbia, SC: Camden House, 1996. Print. 177 98. The English Pati ent Literature/Film Quarterly 31.2 (Apr. 2003): 99. Academic Search Premier EBSCO. UF George A. Smathers Lib, Gainesville, FL. 2 Feb. 2009 < http://www.ebscohost.com >. Laing, Heather. Gabriel Yared's The English Patient: A Film Score Guide Scarecrow Film Score Guides, no. 1. Lanham, Md: Scarecrow P, 2004. Print. Leggott, James. Contemporary British Cinema: From Heritage to Horror London: Wallflower P, 2008. Print. Mennel, Barbara C. Cities and Cinema London: Routledge, 2008. Print. Minghella, Anthony. The English Patient: A Screenplay NY: Hyperion Miramax Books, 1996. Print. Minghella, Anthony, and Timothy Bricknell. Minghella on Min ghella London: Faber and Faber, 2005. Print. The English Patient Alif 18 (1998): 159 73. Naficy, Hamid. An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Disaporic Filmmaking Princeton and Oxford: Princeton UP, 2001. Print. New York, I Love You Dir. Shekhar Kapur. Perf. Julie Christie and Shia Labeouf. DVD. Vivendi Entertainment, 2009.
57 Durovicova and N ewman 3 11. Ponzanesi, The English Patient Diasporic Literature and Theory: Where Now? Ed. Mark Shackleton. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2009. Print. 120 37. Sargeant, Amy. British Cinema: A Critical History London: BFI Publi shing, 2005. Print. The English Patient Literature/Film Quarterly 26.4 (1998): 242 54. Academic Search Premier EBSCO. UF George A. Smathers Lib, Gainesville, FL. 2 Feb. 2009 < http://www.ebscohost.com >. Scott, A.O. "Love Means Always Having to Say You're Sorry." Rev. of Breaking and Entering dir. Anthony Minghella. New York Times 26 Jan. 2007: 13. Academic Search Premier EBSCO. UF George A. Smather s Lib, Gainesville, FL. 2 Feb. 2009 < http://www.ebscohost.com >. The English Patient Literature Interpretation Theory 18 (2007): 213 36. Academic Search Premier EBSCO. UF George A. S mathers Lib, Gainesville, FL. 2 Feb. 2009 < http://www. ebscohost .com >. Spencer, Liese. Breaking and Entering ." Rev. of Breaking and Entering dir. Anthony Minghella. Sight & Sound 16.12 (2006): 46 48. Academic Search Premier EBSCO. UF George A. Smathers Lib, Gainesville, FL. 2 Feb. 2009 < http://www.ebscohost.com >. Stenberg, Douglas. "A Firmament in the Midst of the Waters: Dimensions of Love in The English Patient ." Lit erature/Film Quarterly 26.4 (1998): 255. Academic Search Premier EBSCO. Web. 23 Aug. 2010 < http://www.ebscohost.com >. The Talented Mr. Ripley Dir. Anthony Minghella. Perf. Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, a nd Cate Blanchett. DVD. Miramax Films, 1999. Thompson, Kristin, and David Bordwell. Film History: An Introduction 3 rd ed. New York: U of Wisconsin Madison, 2010. The English Patient The International Fiction Review 27.1 (2000): 10 19. Braudy and Cohen 455 70.
58 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Timothy M ichael Robinson was born in 1986 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The youngest of three children, he grew up mostly in the small town of Bridgewater, Virginia, graduating from Turner Ashby High School in 2004. Over the next four years he earned a Bachelor of Arts from the College of William and Mary where he double majo r ed in English and l ite rary & cultural s tudies, an interdisciplinary degree concentrating i n film studies. Additionally, his in May 2008. Later that fall he entered the Master of Arts degree program in English at the University of Florida, where he currently holds a teaching assistantship that allows him to i nstruct a range of courses in the Department of English and through the University Writing Program. to pursue his Ph.D. in English, with a concentration in film and media s tudies, at the University of Florida with plans to graduate in 2014.