LIT260 : Post-War British Realist Cinema

Convener(s): Dr David Forrest:


General Information

This module represents a journey through British realist cinema from the post-war period to the present day, covering key thematic and textual trends and providing a thorough exploration of relevant social and cultural contexts in the process. You will explore the immediate post war period in British cinema, examining the formative influence of wartime fiction films and documentaries on realism, before moving to the work of key filmmakers and film cycles, such as: the social problem film (It Always Rains on Sunday [Robert Hamer, 1947]); the British New Wave (The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner [Tony Richardson, 1962]); Ken Loach (Raining Stones [1993]); Mike Leigh (Secrets and Lies [1995]); Black British Cinema (Pressure [Horace Ove, 1976]); the films of Stephen Frears and Hanif Kureishi (My Beautiful Laundrette [1985]); the ‘Brit Grit’ and post-industrial realist cycles of the 90s (Brassed Off [Mark Herman, 1996]); the work of Shane Meadows (Dead Man’s Shoes [2004]); and recent examples of contemporary British realism (Weekend [Andrew Haigh, 2011]). The module will examine how British filmmakers have explored the changing political and social landscape of post-war Britain, with a particular focus on issues of class, race, gender and sexuality.


Teaching will be delivered via one weekly 2 hour seminar, accompanied by one weekly film screening (up to two hours). The seminars will provide an introduction to the topics associated with the film selected for screening, and will be a combination of verbal and audio-visual exhibition (informal lecture) and group discussion. Set texts and further reading/viewing will be specified to provide a basis for seminar discussion and assessment.


This module is assessed via one portfolio of 10 responses to the weekly films. This learning journal will be completed throughout the module, and students will receive formative feedback on their work during weeks 7 and 12. The final module mark will be based on the module leader’s assessment of the five strongest entries in the portfolio. Students will be given an indicative word limit, but it is anticipated that the assessed work will not exceed 4000 words. Students will be able to refine their portfolio during the exam period.

Contact Details

Dr David Forrest:

Information last changed: Friday 07th of April 2017 :: 12:25:49 PM (BST)

Please note: This module may or may not run in any individual session. Please check with the course convener.


The University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK