Recent results in solar flare analysis using integrated field properties rather than fully two- (or three) dimensional magnetic field equations are reported. The flare is described by the mutual Lorentz forces of a static background field on a rising filament current system and a current sheet far below that filament. The well-conducting solar surface with its high inertia can be represented formally as a mirror plane for the coronal or chromospheric current systems. The start of the flare is described by the well-known Van Tend-Kuperus mechanism, where a current filament meets a critical height above which static force balance is impossible. Reconnection and magnetic field dissipation occur at the induced current sheet which is situated well below the filament.