Sport, Film and National Culture  book cover
1st Edition

Sport, Film and National Culture

Edited By

Seán Crosson

ISBN 9780367541682
Published May 6, 2022 by Routledge
264 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Sport and film have historically been key components of national cultures and societies. This is the first collection dedicated to examining the intersection of these popular cultural forces within specific national contexts.

Covering films of all types, from Hollywood blockbusters to regional documentaries and newsreels, the book considers how filmic depictions of sport have configured and informed distinctive national cultures, societies and identities. Featuring case studies from 11 national contexts across 6 continents – including North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania – it reveals the common and contrasting approaches that have emerged within sport cinema in differing national contexts.

This is fascinating and important reading for all students and researchers working in film, media, cultural studies or sport, and for broader enthusiasts of both sport and film.

Table of Contents

Sport, Film, and National Culture: An Introduction

Seán Crosson

Part I: Sport, Cinema, and National Culture in the USA


1. Adapting an ‘American’ Football Biopic: Knute Rockne: All American

Jesse Schlotterbeck


2. Esther Williams, Americanness, the Aquacade and Sex: ‘A Swirl of Red, White and Blue Flags and Chesty Swimmers with Their Chins Up’

Ellen Wright


3. Multicultural American Heroes: Reading the Recent Biopics of Jackie Robinson and Jesse Owens Through the Lens of American Civil Religion

Grant Wiedenfeld


4. Sports Film and the Reimagining of American Popular Culture: Billie Jean and Tonya            

Gina Daddario


Part II: The European Experience


5. Sport Films and ‘Banal’ Nationalism in Interwar Belgium: Flandria Film, Mythomoteurs and the Cult of the ‘Flandriens’

Daniel Biltereyst and Roel Vande Winkel


6. Sport and National Culture in Swedish Film

Peter Dahlén


7. Soccer, Film, and the Third Reich: Hunters, Cowards, and Glory

Rebeccah Dawson 


8. Primo Carnera, Propaganda and Mussoliniʼs International Legitimisation: The Boxer who was a Passport for Fascism

Francesco Buscemi


9. Football, Cinema and Spanish Nationalism: Decoding the Francoist Film Campeones (1943)

Manuel Garin


10. Cricket, Film and British National Identity: On a Sticky Wicket?

Stephen Glynn


Part III: Beyond Hollywood and Europe


11. Netball and National Identity in Aotearoa New Zealand Cinema Newsreels 1930-1959: ‘There’s a new life in the sporting world’

Margaret Henley


12. Football, National Culture and Politics in Brazil in 1970: O ano em que meus pais saíram de férias (The year my parents went on vacation)

André Mendes Capraro and Pauline Peixoto Iglesias Vargas


13. Contesting Visions of Ethiopia in Two Amharic Sports Films: Between Film Festivals and Local Commercial Cinema

Michael W. Thomas


14. Reconstructing Taiwanese National Identity in the Sports Film: Small Nation, Sports, and Cultural Heterogeneity

Ting-Ying Lin

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Seán Crosson is Leader of the Sport & Exercise Research Group, Co-Director of the MA in Sports Journalism and Communication, and Director of Graduate Research and Teaching in the Huston School of Film & Digital Media, National University of Ireland Galway.