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Trainspotting

  • Sarah Street
Chapter

Abstract

Trainspotting was released in New York in July 1996, ten months after its UK première. It took $262,000 on its opening weekend and continued to attract audiences, earning $12 million at the US box office after eight weeks. By Hollywood standards this is not a large sum — in seven weeks Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day (1996) grossed $285 million — but Trainspotting’s career abroad exceeded expectations, it ‘travelled’ well, receiving excellent reviews and high-profile publicity in Europe and the USA. As a low-budget, parochial film which certainly did not exemplify the conventional virtues and values of Britain, utilising broad Scottish accents (some dubbing was necessary for American release) and dealing with risqué subject-matter, it would, at first sight, appear to be destined for short theatrical domestic release followed by a video career. John Hill has argued that:

[T]he most interesting type of British cinema, and the one which is most worthy of support, differs from the type which is often hoped for — a British cinema capable of competing with Hollywood and exemplifying the virtues and values of Britain. A different conception of British cinema recognises that its economic ambitions will have to be more modest. However, its cultural ambitions can, and should, be correspondingly more ambitious: the provision of diverse and challenging representations adequate to the complexities of contemporary Britain. (Hill, 18–19)

Keywords

National Identity Heroin Addict Production Team Sleeve Shot Visual Style 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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References

  1. Gunning, Tom 1986: ‘The Cinema of Attractions: Early Film, its Spectators and the Avant-Garde’. In Wide Angle, 8, 3–4.Google Scholar
  2. Hill, John 1992: ‘The Issue of National Cinema and British Film Production’. In Duncan Petrie (ed.), New Questions of British Cinema. London: British Film Institute.Google Scholar
  3. MacDonald, Andrew 1996: ‘It’s Such a Perfect Day’. In Premiere UK, March.Google Scholar
  4. Neale, Steve 1990: ‘Questions of Genre’. In Screen, 31, 1.Google Scholar
  5. Self, Will 1996: ‘Trainspotting’. In Observer Preview, 11–17 February.Google Scholar
  6. Shone, Tom 1996: ‘Trainspotting’. In Sunday Times, 25 February.Google Scholar
  7. Street, Sarah 1997: British National Cinema. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Suggestions for Further Reading

  1. Caughie, John 1990: ‘Representing Scotland: New Questions for Scottish Cinema’. In E. Dick (ed.), From Limelight to Satellite. London: British Film Institute/Scottish Film Council.Google Scholar
  2. Petrie, Duncan 1996: ‘British Cinema: The Search for Identity’. In Geoffrey Nowell-Smith (ed.), Oxford History of World Cinema. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Sarah Street 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Street

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