9.1 Cinema and Wales
For many people the way that Wales has been represented in cinema will always be linked in some way to the 1941 Hollywood adaptation of Richard Llewellyn’s novel How Green Was My Valley (director John Ford), which won the Academy Award for best picture. For Kate Woodward, ‘Ford’s film spawned a million clichés about terraced streets and black faced miners, singing on their way home from the pit ... Ford’s Welsh valley, created in the San Fernando Valley in Malibu, was sanitized of all traces of dust and dirt, and Hollywoodized beyond all recognition’ (Woodward, 2006, pp. 54–5).
However, during the 1990s and in the period since devolution there have been powerful attempts in both the Welsh and English languages to create a contemporary cinema culture in Wales that avoided such clichés and attempted to engage with a more diverse sense of the nation and its evolving place in the world.