Philosophical Screens
The Seventh Veil

Our regular philosophical screens event series exploring cinema through a philosophical lens returns this month with a focus on The Seventh Veil. With her script, Muriel Box became the first woman to win the Academy Award™ for Best Original Screenplay.

Join our regular film philosophers Lucy Bolton and Catherine Wheatley, along with special guest Adam Plummer, to consider this classic melodrama.

Lucy Bolton is Reader in Film Studies at Queen Mary University of London. She is the author of Contemporary Cinema and the Philosophy of Iris Murdoch (EUP, 2019) and is currently writing a book on philosophy and film stardom.

Catherine Wheatley is Reader in Film and Visual Culture at King’s College London. Her books include Stanley Cavell and Film: Scepticism and Self-Reliance at the Cinema, Michael Haneke’s Cinema: The Ethic of the Image, the BFI Film Classics book on Caché, and, with Lucy Mazdon, Sex, Art and Cinephilia: French Cinema in Britain. Catherine also writes regularly for Sight and Sound magazine.

Adam Plummer has taught film theory, film history and film philosophy at Queen Mary University of London, and is now an independent writer based in the UK. His book, The British Trauma Film: Psychoanalysis and Popular British Cinema in the Immediate Aftermath of the Second World War (which is to be released later this month) uses a critical theory framework to understand the role that psychoanalysis plays in British culture at this time as an historical discourse. He analyses six British films of the period: The Halfway House, Dead of Night, The Seventh Veil, Madonna of the Seven Moons, They Made Me a Fugitive, and Mine Own Executioner and demonstrates how psychoanalysis operates within them as a narrative and formal structuring mechanism. He argues that this engagement enables these films to begin to address the emotional fallout of the war by creating safe representational spaces where contemporary audiences could engage with their own traumatic experiences.

Suggested reading
Box, Sydney, The Lion That Lost Its Way, ed. by Andrew Spicer (Lanham, MD, Toronto, and Oxford: The Scarecrow Press, 2005)

Mary Ann Doane, The Desire to Desire: The Woman’s Film of the 1940s (Basingstoke and London: Macmillan Press, 1987)

Andrew Spicer, Sydney Box (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2006)

Ann Todd, The Eighth Veil (New York: Putnam, 1981)

Adam Plummer, The British Trauma Film: Psychoanalysis and Popular British Cinema in the Immediate Aftermath of the Second World War (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2023)

The Seventh Veil + The English Inn
Mon 1 May 13:00; Thu 11 May 18:10 (+ intro by Lucy Bolton, Reader in Film Studies at Queen Mary)
Good-Time Girl
Mon 1 May 15:40; Fri 12 May 18:10 (+ intro by Television Producer and Director, Rebecca Towers)
Muriel Box: The Odd Woman Out
Tue 2 May 18:15
The Passionate Stranger (aka A Novel Affair)
Tue 2 May 20:30 (+ intro by filmmaker Carol Morley); Thu 18 May 18:20; Tue 30 May 20:30
Easy Money
Wed 3 May 18:20; Mon 8 May 16:00
Holiday Camp
Sat 6 May 15:30; Wed 17 May 20:30
The Lost People (aka Cockpit)
Sat 6 May 18:30; Sun 21 May 13:40
The Happy Family (aka Mr Lord Says No/Live and Let Live)
Sun 7 May 18:10; Sat 20 May 15:15
Street Corner (aka Both Sides of the Law/Gentle Arm/The Policewoman)
Mon 8 May 13:30; Tue 30 May 18:20 (+ intro by season curator Josephine Botting)
Simon and Laura
Mon 8 May 18:10; Sun 28 May 16:00
Philosophical Screens: The Seventh Veil
Thu 11 May 20:15 Blue Room
Rattle of a Simple Man
Wed 17 May 18:10; Tue 23 May 20:30
The Truth about Women
Thu 18 May 20:40; Sun 28 May 18:10
Eyewitness (aka Point of Crisis) + A Ride with Uncle Joe
Sun 21 May 18:20; Fri 26 May 18:10
This Other Eden
Thu 25 May 18:20; Sat 27 May 13:45

With thanks to
StudioCanal for their new 4K restorations from the best available original materials, scanned and restored to produce three brand new HD masters

Three restored Muriel Box titles (The Passionate Stranger, The Truth about Women and Rattle of a Simple Man) are being released on Blu-ray and DVD by StudioCanal in May and will be available from the BFI Shop.

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Programme notes and credits compiled by Sight and Sound and the BFI Documentation Unit
Notes may be edited or abridged
Questions/comments? Contact the Programme Notes team by email