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Imagining Englishness: the mapping of identity in My Summer of Love (2004) by Pawel Pawlikowski

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This article will look at the way in which the thematic and aesthetic discourses of My Summer of Love imagine and problematize the notion of a British/English identity. As an allegorical story of Sapphic love and conflict between two teenage girls, working-class Mona and upper-class Tamsin, My Summer of Love explores an English identity by mapping it onto the British class system. As an outsider to British/English culture by dint of his Polish origin, Pawlikowski negotiates his perception of British/English identity by extrapolating the myths that contribute to the creation of the imagined British community (mainly the South/North divide of England) and conventions of British cinema (mainly the British social realism with its emblematic That Long Shot of Our Town from That Hill). However, the prominence of authorial discourse in this phenomenological project of getting to the heart of English identity as well as realist aesthetic discourses also hint at his nomadic sensibility and the allegiance to various European New Waves.
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Keywords: British cinema; English/British identity; class system; outsider's gaze

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Swansea University.

Publication date: October 1, 2009

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  • The journal aims to provide a platform for the study of new forms of cinematic practice and fresh approaches to cinemas hitherto neglected in western scholarship. It particularly welcomes scholarship that does not take existing paradigms and theoretical conceptualisations as given; rather, it anticipates submissions that are refreshing in approach and exhibit a willingness to tackle cinematic practices that are still in the process of development into something new.
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