Sunday Bloody Sunday

Topics: Film / Pages: 8 (1834 words) / Published: Nov 7th, 2008
Sunday Bloody Sunday (John Schlesinger) 1971

“Cinema and television sap and leach the narrative power away; insidiously impose their own conformities, their angles, their limits of vision; deny the existence of what they cannot capture. As with all frequently repeated experience, the effect is paradigmatic, affecting by analogy beyond the immediately seen – indeed, all spheres of life where a free and independent imagination matters”. That’s how John Fowles felt about new medias in 1968, when his major master piece The Magus was unhappily adapted to a film. This description of cinema matches perfectly with 1970’s tendencies of British cinema. Private and restricted once, the industries opened towards the world, considering the influences of Hollywood positive and taking example of it in some way.


Daniel Hirsh, Jewish doctor (Peter Finch) and divorced, middle-aged woman Alex Greville (Glenda Jackson) are both involved in a love triangle with a young bisexual designer Bob Elkin (Murray Head). Not only they are aware that Elkin is seeing both of them, but they do know each other through mutual friends. They are afraid to loose Bob, so they are trying to deal as good as possible with the situation. For Alex, the relationship is bound with a growing disillusion about her life, failed marriage and uneasy childhood. For Daniel, it represents an escape from the repressed nature of his Jewish upbringing.
When Elkin decides to leave the country, Alex and Daniel decide to meet each other (for the first time in the film, ant at the very end). This departure is an alarm for them, an understanding that its time to move on.

Sunday, bloody…

The title itself conveys ambivalence of various sorts. It is unlikely that many in the film’s audience around the world would have been attuned to the past political resonances of the phrase “Bloody Sunday”. This had been the name given to an infamous episode of street violence in London involving police and

Bibliography: Penelope Gilliat, Sunday Bloody Sunday, ed. Corgi, London, 1971. Pauline Kael, Deeper into Movies, ed. Atlantic Monthly Press, Boston, 1973. Brian McFarlane, The Cinema of Britain and Ireland, ed. Wallflower Press, London, 2005. Justine Ashby, Andrew Higson, British cinema, Past and Present, ed. Routledge, London, 2000. Amy Sargeant, British Cinema, a critical history, BFI publishing, London, 2005. +

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