The Concept Of National Cinema And Understanding British Culture

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The Concept of National Cinema and Understanding British Culture Based on Anderson (1983) definition, a nation can be defined as the plotting of an imagined community with a shared and secure identity as well as sense of belonging, on to a carefully distinguished geo-political space. From this view, a nation is first formed and then maintained as a restricted public area, which means that public debate gives a nation meaning while media systems with certain geographical reach give it shape. Inhabitants of nations with a strong sense of self-identity are persuaded to imagine themselves as members of a consistent, whole community, founded in the geographical space with well-established local beliefs. This essay presents a discussion into the concept of national cinema a good way to understand British Film culture using the “British” films and relevant theory in this research area. Thus, national identity is about the experience of belonging to such a group of people, being steeped in its customs, its rites, as well as its characteristic styles of discourse (Cooke, 1999). Such a sense of national identity is not reliant on truly living in the geo-political space of the nation. Therefore, some communities in the Diaspora who are displaced from a definite geo-political space of the homeland still have a general sense of belonging in spite of their transnational dispersion. On the one hand, modern states exist majorly as imagined communities. On the other, those communities actually comprise of highly disjointed as well as detached groups of people with differences and similarities and with little in the sense of real physical contact with each other. Hence, if this is the case, it implies that all nations are in some sense diasporic. Therefore, they are formed in the evolution between harmony and disharmony, between homelessness and home (Crofts, 2006). Thus, nationhood answers to a felt need for a rooted, bounded, whole and genuine identity. Therefore, the public sphere of the nation and the patriotism discourse are bound up in a constant struggle to transform the facts of dispersal, variegation and homelessness into the experience of rooted community. The experience of an organic, articulate national community, a meaningful national collectivity, will be irresistible at times. The experience of Diaspora, displacement and de-centeredness will succeed at other times. In such times, other loyalties, other sense of belonging besides the national are felt more strongly.
Broadly, it is understood that mass communication rituals have a central role to play in re-imagining the disjointed and detached population as a tight-knit, value-sharing collectivity, which sustains the experience of nationhood (Street, 2001). However, it appears that such collectivity is unnecessary (Sorlin, 2000). For instance, lets consider three major prominent media experiences that be viewed at one level as enabling the British to imagine themselves as a distinctive national community. Firstly, the funeral of Princess Diana that became a major event in the media where millions participated. Secondly, the consistent success in ratings of homegrown, long running, and British based soap operas showing daily life of inner city. Programs such as EastEnders and Coronation Street are transmitted regularly on a nationwide basis by British broadcasters with some sense of a public service dispatch. Thirdly, the success of several British films at the box office and subsequently on video as well as the small screen was something to be proud. They include Shakespeare in Love (1998); The Full Monty (1997); and Bhaji on the Beach (Gurinder Chadha, 1993); Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994); East is East (Damien O’Donnell, 1999); Trainspotting (Danny Boyle, 1996); Twin Town (Kevin Allen, 1997); The Full Monty (Peter Cattaneo, 1997); and TwentyFourSeven (Shane Meadows, 1997) . All of them were produced and set in Britain. Each of the above-mentioned media events had far