A ‘space to imagine’: Frenchness and the pleasures and labours of art cinema in the English regions

David Forrest*, Peter Merrington

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores focus group responses to Mia Hansen-Løve’s Things to Come (2016). The focus groups were conducted across four English regions in Autumn 2018, and drew participants from a range of social, cultural and economic backgrounds. The responses reveal some of the ways in which audiences in the English regions form and make meaning around particular kinds of textual and contextual experiences of cinemagoing and consumption. In particular, the article aims to develop our understanding of contemporary art cinema to take account of the ways in which audiences identify and respond to a film clip which captures the particular textual characteristics associated with the mode. Our research finds that for many, the pleasures of art cinema are contingent on participation within related, elite social and cultural practices, whereas for others, art cinema conventions operate as sites of labour and exclusion. The responses also reveal some of the ways in which narratives of nationhood are constructed in relation to art cinema The methodological approach of the research, drawing on film elicitation,  indicates ways in which traditional models of textual analysis might be enriched by more pluralised accounts of the relationships between form and meaning.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalStudies in European Cinema
Early online date16 Feb 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Feb 2021


  • 'Cinematic Frenchness'
  • Art Cinema
  • Focus Groups
  • Mia hansen-løve

Cite this