'Tears of laughter' examines the interactions of comedy and drama in three vital thematic strands of British cinema during the 1990s: comedies exploring issues of class, culture and community in British society, 'ethnic' comedy-dramas engaging with complex issues of identity and allegiance in modern Britain, and romantic comedies featuring characters searching (somewhat desperately or frantically) for a suitable and desirable long-term or short-term partner. Films to be discussed in detail include 'Brassed Off' (1996), 'The Full Monty' (1997), 'East is East' (1999), 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' (1994), 'Notting Hill' (1999) and a post-1990s romantic comedy, 'Love Actually' (2003). The study discusses these specific films and a range of other 1990s British comedy-drama films within the context of community-orientated Ealing comedy classics, contentious situation comedies treating race relations as both a laughing matter and a site of conflict ('Till Death Us Do Part' and 'Love Thy Neighbour'), and romantic comedies set and produced in Britain. It is aimed at film studies academics, students and film enthusiasts. -- .
Nigel Mather writes on film and currently teaches Film Studies at the University of Kent -- .
CONTENTS Introduction 'Tears of laughter': comedy-drama in 1990s British cinema Chapter one 'Things can only get better.'- comedies of class, culture and community 2.1 Concepts of community, 'comical' cultural clashes and British cinema 2.2 The 'Ealing spirit' and 1990s regional comedies 2.3 Case studies: Brassed Off (1996) The Full Monty (1997) 2.4 Conclusion Chapter two Racial discourses, ethnicity, and the 'comic mode' in contemporary British cinema 3.1 'To love (or hate) thy neighbour?' Situational comedy and racial conflicts in 1970s British film and television culture 3.2 My Beautiful Laundrette (1986), a 1980s ethnic 'soap opera', and 'Rita, Sue, Bob and Aslam Too' 3.3 Developing notions of ethnic comedy-drama in 1990s British cinema 3.4 Case Study: East is East (1999) 3.5 Conclusion Chapter three Romantic comedy and new beginnings in 1990s British cinema 4.1 Conceptualising the 'comic romance' 4.2 Trends and traditions of romantic comic drama in British film culture 4.3 Constructing romantic scenarios in 1990s British cinema 4.4 Case studies: Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) Notting Hill (1999) Love Actually (2003) 4.5 Conclusion Conclusion Bibliography Filmography -- .