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Name: Chris Horn

PhD: Film Studies

Thesis Title: The Lost Decade: The Fortunes and Films of the 'Hollywood Renaissance Auteur' in the 1980s

Thesis Description:

The dominant view of early 1970s American film history is that of a brief window of creativity and critique based around a select group of directors. In contrast, the 1980s are seen as the era of the blockbuster and ‘Reaganite entertainment’. Yet key ‘Renaissance’ directors remained active throughout the 1980s and were responsible for a range of varied and rich films. My thesis starts with the premise that this work has been obscured by an over-neat model of American film history, which has placed undue emphasis on White House occupancy and box-office hits; that the 1980s careers of directors such as Altman, Coppola, Friedkin and Rafelson, far from conforming to a monolithic pattern of decline, show diverse and complex responses to political and industrial changes. By asking if the history of 1980s US cinema can be revised and expanded to include the forgotten films of ‘Hollywood Renaissance’ directors and whether the decline of these directors be understood in more complex ways that places a greater emphasis on creativity than on economic factors, I intend to provide a new perspective on individual films, American film history, and the viability of sustained authorial creativity within post-studio era Hollywood.


Supervisors and Institution(s): Dr Guy Barefoot - University of Leicester 

                                                     Professor Ian Hunter - De Montfort University


Scholarly / Public Engagement Activities:

Conferences -

Papers presented at: 

SERCIA annual conference, 4-6 September 2019, University of West Brittany (France)  

BAFTSS annual conference, 25-27 April 2019, University of Birmingham

'Siblings on Screen and Stage' symposium, 5 September 2018, University of Worcester

History, Politics and International Relations Postgraduate Conference, 9 May 2018, University of Leicester

Film Research Group,1 November 2017, University of Leicester

'The American New Wave: A Retrospective', 4-6 July 2017, University of Bangor

History Department Postgraduate Conference, 16 May 2017, University of Leicester 


Also attended:

'Exploring Boundaries in Film and Television', 14 June 2017, De Montfort University  

‘Production Studies: Film, Television, and their Industrial Contexts’, 15 June 2016, De Montfort University

'Stanley Kubrick: A Retrospective’, 11-13 May 2016, De Montfort University

To Be Continued…Continued: A Day Event on Serial Forms in Different Media’, 13 January 2016, University of Leicester

Rome Open City: Examining the Legacy after Seventy Years’, 12-13 November 2015, University of Warwick

Other Research Interests:

As well as the wide-ranging contexts surrounding authorship in Hollywood cinema (not only in the 1980s), I am also interested in posing similar questions about contemporary television ‘quality’ drama. Previous (unpublished) work, in this regard, includes analyses of authorship in the televisual work of David Simon (The Wire), and in the feature films of Alan Rudolph, a largely forgotten American director mainly active in the 1980s and 1990s.  


University email address:


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