History and the Notion of Authenticity in Control and 24 Hour Party People

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    Abstract

    In the last decade, two films about Joy Division and the Manchester music scene in the 1970s have been released, 24 Hour Party People and Control, but these films are dramatically different in their production, tone and storyline. However, many critics have seen that the biggest difference between the two is their fidelity to historical authenticity and the 'true' history of Joy Division, with Control viewed as more 'authentic' than 24 Hour Party People. This article argues that this contrast is a misnomer as no film can accurately portray historical events, although both films strive for authenticity in different ways (through the films' aesthetics, the mise en scene and the provenance of those involved). This article proposes that cinema can be greatly beneficial to historians of the contemporary era in showing how historical narratives are constructed. This is particularly evident in 24 Hour Party People, which explicitly illustrates how conflicting popular memories can be formed into 'history' and historians, like filmmakers, consciously choose which pieces of narratives to use in making their histories.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)466-489
    Number of pages24
    JournalContemporary British History
    Volume27
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

    Keywords

    • 24 Hour Party People
    • Anton Corbijn
    • Cinema
    • Control
    • Historiography
    • Joy Division
    • Michael Winterbottom
    • Tony Wilson

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