The Crying Game: Approaches to British Cinema

Dr Josie Dolan (Film Studies, University of the West of England)

Crying GameNeil Jordan’s 1992 film The Crying Game usefully exemplifies two interlinked, but highly distinctive, approaches to studying British cinema; firstly, the economics and institutional structures of the British film industry; and secondly, British films that represent a dominant British national identity for a global market and/or films that contest the meanings of ‘Britishness’ within the home nation. This session aims to use The Crying Game to signpost the scholarship and debates emerging from these approaches.

Recommended reading:

Street, S. (2009) 2nd edition. British National Cinema, London & New York: Routledge.

This well written and highly accessible book by an internationally renowned scholar gives an excellent overview of the key areas of concern within British cinema studies. It is readily available second hand on internet sites such as ABE Books, and Amazon and makes a worthwhile investment for anyone interested in British cinema. Whilst being slightly out of date, the first edition is far from redundant.

The Crying Game has received a vast amount of critical attention. One of the best is:

Woods, G. (2006) ‘Beyond the Pale: The Politics of the Crying Game’. In Griffiths, R. ed, British

Queer Cinema, London: Routledge.

Other relevant articles include:

Boozer Jr. J. (1995) ‘Bending the Phallic patriarchy in The Crying Game’. The Journal of Popular

Film and Television, 22, Winter, pp.172-179.

Dahlman, C. l (2002) ‘Masculinity in Conflict: Geopolitics and Performativity in The Crying Game’ in

Cresswell,  and Dixon, D. eds. Engaging Film: Geographies of Mobility, London: Rowland & Littlefield: 123-7.

Dyja. E. (2010) ‘The Crying Game’ in Studying British Cinema; The 1990s. Leighton

Buzzard: Auteur, pp 15-26.

Edge. S. ‘Women are trouble, did you know that Fergus?: Neil Jordan’s the Crying Game’.

Feminist Review 50, 1 July 1995, pp. 173–186. Link:

Giles, J.  (1997) The Crying Game, London, BFI.

Handler. K. (1994) ‘The Crying Game: Difference, identity, ethics’. Film Quarterly, 47 (3) 31-42.

Lyons. K. ‘Transcultural Cinema: Reading Race and Ethnicity in Neil Jordan’s The Crying Game’.

South Atlantic Review, Vol. 67. No. 1, Winter, 2002, pp. 91-103.

Lugowski.  D.  (1993) ‘Genre Conventions and Style in the Crying Game’.  Cineaste 20. (21).

Rockett, K. (1992) ‘From Atlanta to Dublin’. Sight and Sound. 2, June, pp. 26-28.

Walsh, M. (2000) ‘Thinking the unthinkable: Coming to terms with Northern Ireland in the 1980s

and 1990s’ in Ashby, J. and Higson, A. British Cinema, Past and Present. London & New York: Routledge, pp. 288-298.

Young, L. (1997) ‘Nothing is as it seems; Reviewing The Crying Game’ in Kirkham, P. and Thumim,  J.

eds, Me Jane: masculinity, movies and women , London: Lawrence & Wishart