Dr. Colin Perry’s professional output

History, landscape, nation: British independent film and video in the 1970s and 1980s

Article – Published 20th Nov 17

This article examines uses of history in British independent film and video in the 1970s and the 1980s, looking at ways in which radical pasts were called on to foster struggle in the present.

In tracing the specific influence of New Left cultural historians on independent film and video, and television, during these two decades, this article also suggests ways in which the nation is figured, contested and re-drawn in specific works by Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo, Phil Mulloy and the Black Audio Film Collective.

A rich and diverse framework of Left historical discourse is outlined, suggesting that the exploration of a socialized landscape (the city and the country) played on and renegotiated existing myths and tropes of Britishness, identity and belonging.

This article also fills a gap in existing accounts of radical film’s uses of history, going beyond valedictory accounts of modernist historiography to assert the vitality of a complex counterpublic discourse.

It concludes with a reflection on problems in the depiction and imagination of the past today.

Publication details

Publication status Published
Refereed 1
Publication title Moving Image Review & Art Journal
Publishers name Intellect
Volume 6.1