'The shit just got real': Parody and National Film Culture in The Strike and Hot Fuzz

Archer, Neil
January 2016
Journal of British Cinema & Television;Jan2016, Vol. 13 Issue 1, p42
Academic Journal
This article argues for the productive function of parody within British film-making, both as an aesthetic strategy for wider distribution, but also as an important approach to the depiction and construction of a national film culture. Going against the conception that parody in the British context negatively signifies what British film is not (in this case, Hollywood), and implicitly asserts a more authentic model for a national cinema (typically, realism), the article argues for parody's value as a mode of representation, particularly within the broader contexts of globalisation. Using the Channel 4 film The Strike (1988) and Working Title's Hot Fuzz (2007) as case studies, it shows parody as responding in specific ways to distinct and changing circumstances of film production, film viewing and British film culture's relationship to Hollywood. The article argues that The Strike's negative uses of parody, while seemingly aligned with an anti-Hollywood discourse pertinent to its contexts, disavows both its own resistance to realism and its own playful use of popular generic modes. Meanwhile, Hot Fuzz, though superficially employing the same approach, can be seen to offer a more nuanced reflection on the limitations and possibilities of 'national film' in the early twenty-first century, both as discourse and product. As the article concludes, uses of parody in both texts bring into focus ways of reconciling industrial and cultural frameworks for national cinemas, especially within an increasingly globalised economy.


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