Performing the National? Scottish cinema in the time of indyref
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Munro, R. (2020) Performing the National? Scottish cinema in the time of indyref. Journal of British Cinema and Television, 17(4), pp. 425-448.
This article looks at Scottish cinema during the period 2012-2017, assessing the ways in which the nation’s constitutional debate, Scottish-English relations and discourses of national identity were engaged with thematically by films produced in this period. It argues that Scottish cinema in this period ‘performs the national’, in that a number of films flag their national status and engage with discourses of national identity at a distance, unburdened by any serious demand for national representativeness, as might be the case with a ‘national cinema’. From a corpus of texts in the period which offer the possibility of being read through discourses of the nation, two genre films, White Settlers and Sunshine on Leith, are analysed in detail for their differing narrative takes on Scottish-English relations in the contemporary moment. The article concludes by surmising that while film criticism in Scottish cinema has historically been overly-determined by an ideologically driven pursuit of national representativeness, perhaps the welcome emphasis which has been placed in contemporary criticism on broadening the scope of Scottish cinema studies beyond the national has implied a false dichotomy between the two, where it is more likely we can locate Scottish cinema somewhere in between.