Although Kureishi has produced a considerable body of fiction, he is perhaps best known to the general public for his films, which have garnered a good deal of critical attention. Kureishi’s work in these different genres is often deemed to be homogeneous; in her article ‘The Politics of Intimacy in Hanif Kureishi’s Films and Fiction’, Annabel Cone writes: ‘His writing … has a visual quality that transcends the separation between the written word and the filmed frame’ (Cone 261). However, many of his screenplays, and many of the films made out of his work, tend to share some traits not necessarily equally prominent in his fiction. The first of these traits concerns an obvious visual contrast between public and private spaces; as Cone puts it: ‘From his first film, My Beautiful Laundrette, to the novella Intimacy (1998), the need for love and intimacy plays out in an “indoors” completely turned away from … public spaces’ (261). The juxtaposition Cone describes of desiring bodies with Kureishi’s public London, a city that has become both ‘austere’ and ‘bland’, an ‘alienating urban environment that has become completely devoid of romance’ (Cone 261–2), is indeed a consistent, though not universal, feature of Kureishi’s films. Two less obvious but occasionally related features of many of Kureishi’s cinematic ventures are, as we shall see, a clear attribution of moral and psychological significance to the contrast between light and darkness, and a willingness to stretch the boundaries of realism in strategic ways.
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