Possessing neither the aesthetic prestige of the European art cinema nor the global economic reach of Hollywood, British cinema is persistently neglected in Film Studies curricula. French New Wave director François Truffaut famously joked that British cinema was a 'contradiction in terms' and more recently British director Stephen Frears remarked that 'there is no British Cinema. It doesn't exist.' Over the course of the term, we will challenge these claims and investigate the ways in which British cinema has consistently posed a challenge to Hollywood. We will focus in particular on the British new wave and the social realist 'Brit-grit' movement, which developed in the 1980s, propelling the lagging British film industry into international prominence. We will investigate how these movements emerged from and transformed earlier British cinema traditions and in addition to formally analyzing films by esteemed directors (such as Steve McQueen, Sally Potter, Stephen Frears, Mike Leigh, Gurinder Chadha, and Lynne Ramsay), we will treat these films as a set of cultural documents that provide unique insight into British culture and society.