News / Staff Review

The Cinema of Michael Winterbottom

4191VINvRuL._SL500_AA300_Picturehouse cinema programmer and film scholar, Deborah Allison’s new book on director Michael Winterbottom has been published by Lexington Books. Deborah blogs about writing the book whilst working full time on her cinemas. 

Director Michael Winterbottom first came to my attention in 1995 when his theatrical debut, Butterfly Kiss, was screened at (what was then) Cinema 3 in Canterbury, where it shook up the audience and gave rise to animated discussion among the ushers in the bar that night.

Ten years later, after endeavouring to catch as many of his new releases as I could, Winterbottom’s films continued to intrigue me. A commission to write an overview of his work for Senses of Cinema’s Great Directors Critical Database prompted me to seek out those I’d missed.

The process of researching that article bolstered my opinion that Winterbottom’s films express a unique voice within contemporary British cinema. When a call for entries was placed for Lexington Books’ Genre Film Auteurs series, he sprung immediately to mind. Unlike the subjects of earlier books in the series, Winterbottom has worked in a wide range of genres. The ways he has adapted their conventions is very interesting, I think, so that was a big part of the appeal.

The book was commissioned way back in 2007. It wasn’t supposed to take five years to complete but, of course, life got in the way. Trying to get a book written while holding down a full-time job was never going to be the easiest of tasks, and I’m definitely looking forward to spending some weekend and holiday time away from a computer.

Despite the scarcity of proper holidays, it’s been a positive experience overall. Lots of friends and colleagues pitched in to help, with many offering thoughtful feedback on some embarrassingly shaky chapter drafts. Most of the Picturehouse programming team got roped into this, and a few other Picturehouse people besides.

 Now the book is finally out there, I’m just hoping some people will read it and consider everyone’s efforts worthwhile. In the meantime, I’ll be cracking on with the next book: a collaborative project about Oxford’s Phoenix Picturehouse, which celebrates its centenary this year. Plans for a lazy week in Italy may need to go on the back-burner for just a little longer…

The Cinema of Michael Winterbottom is available now. Enter promo code: LEXWIN for a 20% discount. 

Michael Winterbottom’s new film, EVERYDAY is in cinemas now.  

Michael Winterbottom's EVERYDAY is in cinemas this February.

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