Allegorising the nation
British genre cinema has historically depended upon a home market of sufficient size to allow profitability. As a result of falling audiences, this kind of cinema became increasingly difficult to sustain from the 1970s onwards and, during the 1980s, British film-making began (under the influence of television) to move in the direction of art cinema. The common identification of art cinema in terms of specific formal conventions-the loosening of narrative structures, cinematic selfconsciousness, and textual ambiguity-captures only some aspects of the art cinema of the 1980s, which was characterised by an increasing generic hybridity and blurring of aesthetic boundaries. The 1980s could be said to have witnessed a transition from modern to post-modern art cinema and a dissolution of the boundaries between art and genre cinema.