Since the birth of film, the rugged mountains and rolling hills of Wales have attracted filmmakers from afar. Traditionally, Wales has predominantly been represented as an unknown but exoticised ‘Other’ in need of mapping, or a peripheral, distant land, geographically distant from the ‘centre’. In this chapter I argue that Andrew Grieve’s adaptation of Bruce Chatwin’s award-winning novel, On the Black Hill (1987), presents a rich and evocative representation of the Welsh borderlands that in numerous ways blurs the traditional representational boundaries of Welsh landscapes on film. This history of one family over the course of the twentieth century is played out amidst the dramatic landscape of the borderlands, but the role of the landscape goes beyond merely providing a backdrop to the border disputes, war and loss that punctuates the characters lives. The traditional relationship between characters and landscape (where the latter is used to define the former) is turned on its head, for here the characters become a function of the landscape. I explore how the film, through the relationship of the twins and the location of the farm itself, articulates the relationship between Wales and England as a ‘site of struggle’ based on landownership and power.
|Title of host publication||British Rural Landscapes on Film|
|Publisher||Manchester University Press|
|Number of pages||16|
|Publication status||Published - 01 Feb 2016|
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- Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies - Lecturer in Film Studies
Person: Teaching And Research