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Scotland: Global Cinema

Genres, Modes and Identities

David Martin-Jones

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What is your favourite fantasy Scotland? Perhaps you enjoyed Whisky Galore! or Brigadoon, or maybe The Wicker Man is to your taste, Local Hero or Highlander? Yet have you also considered Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Rob Roy, Dog Soldiers, Danny the Dog, Festival, The Water Horse, Carla's Song, Trainspotting and Red Road?

Scotland: Global Cinema is the first book to focus exclusively on the unprecedented explosion of filmmaking in Scotland in the 1990s and 2000s. It explores the various cinematic fantasies of Scotland created by contemporary filmmakers from all over the world - including Scotland, England, France, the United States and India - who braved the weather to shoot in Scotland. Significantly broadening the scope of previous debates, Scotland: Global Cinema provides analysis of ten different genres and modes prevalent in the 1990s/2000s: the comedy, road movie, Bollywood extravaganza, (Loch Ness) monster movie, horror film, costume drama, gangster flick, social realist melodrama, female friendship/US indie movie, and art cinema. These various chapters suggest a wealth of different histories of cinema in Scotland, and uncover the numerous identities - national, transnational, diasporic, global/local, gendered, sexual, religious - created by these approaches. Cinema in Scotland is situated in a global context through analysis of the intersection of transversal flows of filmmaking, tourism, trade and transnational fantasy typical of globalization, as they meet and mingle against the world famous cinematic landscapes of Scotland.


Introduction: Fantasy Scotlands. 1. Comedy: Global/Local Identities. 2. Road Movie: Scotland in the World. 3. Bollywood: NRI-Scotland. 4. (Loch Ness) Monster Movie: A Return to Primal Scotland. 5. Horror Film: History Hydes in the Highlands. 6. Costume Drama: From Men in Kilts to Developing Diasporas. 7. Gangster Film: Glasgow's Transnational Identities. 8. Social-Realist-Melodrama: Middle-class Minorities and Floundering Fathers. 9. Female Friendship/US Indie: Women Talking.
10. Art Cinema: The Global Limits of Cinematic Scotland. Conclusion.

About the Author

David Martin-Jones is Professor of Film Studies at the University of Glasgow


Many of the old debates are still present - particularly the role of Scotland as a frontier wilderness on which outsiders can build their fantasy representations - but they are reconceptualised by Martin-Jones to try to move beyond the unproductive dead-end of simplistic condemnation. Of particular interest is the idea - borrowed from travel writing criticism - of 'autoethnography' ... Martin-Jones debates the concept before formulating some necessary correctives when measured against Scotland's output. ... All in all, essential reading for anyone concerned about Scotland's cinematic past, present and future.
- Douglas Allen, Motherwell College, Media Education Journal
David Martin-Jones's book, now published in paperback, breaks decisively with the implicit cultural nationalism of the national cinema paradigm … This productive approach both broadens the range of films under discussion to include hitherto neglected cinematic 'traditions', such as low budget genre movies and popular Indian productions, alongside art-house cinema, costume drama, and the 'woman's film', and widens the academic discussion of filmmaking in Scotland beyond its usual discursive limits. Focusing on films made in the 1990s and 2000s, each of the book's chapters maps the transnational economic and cultural forces that both shape the films' production and are reflected by the plurality of Scotland's, real or imagined, produced by their narratives. … Future filmmaking in Scotland will take place in an economic and cultural territory that is both local and global, a space his excellent book has productively mapped.
- Richard Butt, International Journal of Scottish Theatre and Screen
Martin-Jones's expansive conception of what counts as Scottish cinema is matched by his coverage of a broad range of persons and companies... Thankfully, Martin-Jones's ambitious scope does not come at the expense of careful analysis. All of Scotland: global cinema's 10 chapters effectively achieve the author's goal of 'exploring the different identities on offer in the various fantasy Scotlands created by filmmakers from around the world' (p. 1). While there is much to recommend the entire text, individual chapters could effectively stand alone.
- Jesse Schlotterbeck, University of Iowa, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television
Martin-Jones provides a set of eloquent, trenchantly argued and provocative chapters on films that have for the most part been completely overlooked in Scottish cinema historiography. As such, the book does indeed begin a mapping of the ‘lost continent’ of Scottish cinema, thereby greatly augmenting the corpus of ‘significant’ Scottish films. Furthermore, Martin-Jones is ultimately successful in locating these films in larger transnational contexts and shows that the film culture of a country as small as Scotland is nevertheless a player in the global media industries, being shaped by transnational movements of capital and people and helping in turn to shape those flows.
- Christopher Meir, University of the West Indies,St. Augustine, Transnational Cinemas
It offers a thoughtful and refreshing approach to the many and different ways Scotland has been either represented or imagined on screen and contributes to our understanding of the term ‘Scottish film’... Martin-Jones’ book will have instant appeal to scholars, not only of film but of cultural studies. The brevity and focus of each chapter renders it extremely readable and its overall investigation into different ways of interpreting Scottish filmic images is both bold and enlivening.
- Annie Morgan Jones, Visual Culture in Britain

[Martin-Jones] is able to show the way various agents – filmmakers, production companies, audiences, tourist boards, scholars – give a Scottish identity to films such as Carla’s Song (UK/Spain/Germany 1996), Pyaar Ishq aur Mohabbat (India 1998), Loch Ness (UK/USA1996), Dog Soldiers (UK/Luxembourg 2002) and Young Adam (UK/France 2003). His focus on co-productions expands the national cinema field and their inclusion highlights the high significance of globalization in film production without excluding the equally important local factor. There is a sense throughout that what exists as contemporary Scottish screen culture cannot be essentialised to limited national boundaries or identity configurations. Martin-Jones also manages to situate many of the films within a British trend that does not deny their equally significant Scottishness.

- Miriam Ross, Victoria University Wellington, Screening the Past

Scotland: Global Cinema marks a significant contribution to the literature on Scotland’s often marginalised contribution to British cinema … Contrary to popularly grim assumptions, the Scotland captured on screen, and re-examined here, is one of fantasy landscapes and transnational identities either moored to, or adrift from, the locations at hand. Examining Bollywood immigration, road films, gangster tropes and the interminable battle of the sexes opens up questions of identity that go beyond borders and landscapes, yet are bound to Scotland as a blank canvas, or as a carefully painted and geographically specific backdrop. It is in these observations that Martin-Jones really captures the essence of Scotland’s global presence.

- Nicola Balkind, Journal of British Cinema and Television