Roberta Findlay's Bronx Tale: Notes on Game of Survival

Jackson, Neil (2023) Roberta Findlay's Bronx Tale: Notes on Game of Survival. In: The Films of Roberta Findlay. ReFocus . Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, pp. 140-159. ISBN 9781474497466, 9781474497497

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'Game of Survival' (aka. 'Tenement' (1985)) stands as a curious test case in the broader sweep of Roberta Findlay’s directorial career. As such, this chapter offers a critical account of its value and importance amid her latter oeuvre, reflecting upon the ways in which specific authorial quirks intersect with commercial and generic imperatives. This isn’t necessarily to make a claim for a hitherto unrecognised specimen of exploitation art. On the contrary, it is clear to even the most forgiving spectator that the film is brazen and unapologetic in its salacious appeal, often running roughshod over any conscious (or unconscious) social critique otherwise embedded instinctively within the film. It manages to be both atypical and idiosyncratic, a ‘late period’ work that is part-career anomaly and part-thematic throwback, providing ample evidence of a filmmaker balancing the demands of the exploitation marketplace with an instinctual eye for the organization of the film’s dramatic environment. Its assortment of exploitation cinema conventions serves the material in frequently startling ways, bestowing an alternative shape and form upon Findlay’s previous portraits of the poverty, degradation, and disenfranchisement of New York’s social outcasts. These were aspects that, perhaps unsurprisingly, went either unremarked or were simply swept aside in its limited and largely negative initial critical appraisal. Therefore, to properly consider its underlying cultural dynamics, it is important to measure them relative to an array of textual and extra-textual elements that reveal several layers of critical potential.

Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P300 Media studies
P Mass Communications and Documentation > P303 Film studies
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film, Media & Journalism > Lincoln School of Film, Media & Journalism (Film)
ID Code:53314
Deposited On:14 Feb 2023 12:00

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