Event Title

Changing? Representations of Britishness in Recent James Bond Films

Location

Edwards 103

Document Type

Oral/PowerPoint Presentation (10 minutes and 5 minute Q and A)

Description

This presentation examines the shifting conceptions of Britishness from one defined in opposition to an “Other” to a more inclusive notion that embraces the UK’s multicultural makeup. The primary focus is on the relationship between the James Bond franchise and Britishness. The presentation begins with a brief look at older conceptions of British national identity before examining the significance to an updated sense of Britishness of two events in July, 2005: the vigil held in Trafalgar Square for the 7 July London bombings and the celebrations for London’s successful bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics. James Bond’s relationship to Britishness is demonstrated by the incorporation of the fictional character into the opening ceremonies of the games via his starring role, opposite the Queen, in a short film aired during the ceremony. A visual analysis of this film demonstrates the way in which it presses Bond into the service of a sense of national identity that differs from that evident in the feature films. The presentation continues with an examination of the ways in which those films appear to be updating their representations of Britishness, focusing on the apparent (but failed) increase in MoneyPenny’s agency and the introduction of Judi Dench as ‘M’ in 1995’s Goldeneye, as well as the franchise’s evolving villains. The presentation concludes with an in-depth analysis of the ways in which 2012’s Skyfall marks a return to a representation of British national identity that is rooted in the male dominated, orientalist exclusivity of the earliest films.

Start Date

26-4-2014 12:00 AM

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Apr 26th, 12:00 AM

Changing? Representations of Britishness in Recent James Bond Films

Edwards 103

This presentation examines the shifting conceptions of Britishness from one defined in opposition to an “Other” to a more inclusive notion that embraces the UK’s multicultural makeup. The primary focus is on the relationship between the James Bond franchise and Britishness. The presentation begins with a brief look at older conceptions of British national identity before examining the significance to an updated sense of Britishness of two events in July, 2005: the vigil held in Trafalgar Square for the 7 July London bombings and the celebrations for London’s successful bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics. James Bond’s relationship to Britishness is demonstrated by the incorporation of the fictional character into the opening ceremonies of the games via his starring role, opposite the Queen, in a short film aired during the ceremony. A visual analysis of this film demonstrates the way in which it presses Bond into the service of a sense of national identity that differs from that evident in the feature films. The presentation continues with an examination of the ways in which those films appear to be updating their representations of Britishness, focusing on the apparent (but failed) increase in MoneyPenny’s agency and the introduction of Judi Dench as ‘M’ in 1995’s Goldeneye, as well as the franchise’s evolving villains. The presentation concludes with an in-depth analysis of the ways in which 2012’s Skyfall marks a return to a representation of British national identity that is rooted in the male dominated, orientalist exclusivity of the earliest films.