Trends in cinema have led me to write another editorial rant. Last time I did one of these was when 127 Hours was out and the number of spoilers openly revealed by the mainstream media infuriated me. Especially when the spoilers where justified because of the films roots in reality. It appears that if something happened in the real world everybody knows about it, therefore there is nothing to spoil. It was an absurd abuse of the spoiler. Enough on that, I have verbalized those demons. This time it’s an issue of market trends, distribution, Megaplex cinema chains and British (or the home isles) film. Or, to give it a punchier title “British cinema versus the Megaplex”.
British Cinema has gone through the renaissance after a considerable lull. Other than directors like Danny Boyle and Shane Meadows, the majority of our national output for a long period was populated by cockney gangsters, the period drama and social realism, stereotypes fundamentally. Over the last couple of years air is being drawn back into the lungs that are our national cinema. Now the gamut has fully been run with the genre film being represented by Attack the Block, Moon & Kill List, period dramas by Jane Eyre, the King’s Speech & Never let me Go, the domestic by Tyrannosaur & Submarine as well as comedies in The Guard. Long story short, British cinema is alive and kicking.
Some of these films will be shown in cinemas up and down the land because of their high-profile. Alas there are very few example of high profile British cinema outside that which baits Oscar attention. Anything which isn’t lucky enough to get gain critical awareness falls by the way side in more way than one. For those of us outside the major cultural centres and cities, those of us who live in towns which only have one Megaplex to quench our cinematic desires, we have to go without until the inevitable DVD is released. Take Kill List and the Guard two British films, for example, (I realise The Guard is Irish, still it is of the home islands)I had to take two separate 80 mile round trips to see them.
I’m not trying to create a parallel relatable to the ideologies of the British Nationalist Party and the idiots… sorry, English Defence League, by saying this. What other country that has a cinematic history as proud as ours has cinematic output that is second class like it is here? And a proud history it is too. Some of the studios our country has given life to include Ealing and Hammer Horror, then we have directors like David Lean, Alfred Hitchcock and Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger. The list of films, actors and directors who have worked and called Britain home is both illustrious and endless. There must be a point in history and a catalyst that started the rot when home-grown culture (not just cinema, music too) started to play second fiddle to American productions. It would be an interesting topic to look into in further detail.
What makes all of this worse is the modern environment where we have media theorists labelling the age the internet ushered in as a global village. A theory which places value in the dialogue you can set up with people the world over, whether that is for shopping purposes or just to talk to people who you share a common interest with. The world is a smaller place thanks to the internet. Nevertheless in the analogue world, to be unable to watch films that were shot and made locally is a sad indictment of the industry. If British films aren’t shown in on home turf why should any other country bother? Even before that, the one group of people who should be able to watch any film, first, is the occupants of the country it was made in. Such affairs cheapen the worth of the innumerable talented directors, both established and new.
On the contrary, go to any cinema in the land and you will find the same vapid American productions dominating. To be fair a point can be made from an economic angle. There is more money in the American industry than in ours. They make more movies and they have a bigger star system which more people are familiar with. These are all valid observations; almost no country can compete with the omnipotence of Hollywood in these avenues. The result of all this equates to a lack of respect for anything other than money.
My solution – I resolutely believe that the majority of British films (from genre eccentricities or more mainstream affairs) should be shown on ALL cinemas big or small up and down the land. Even if only one screen is dedicated to national cinema, then using that place to a build up to somewhere with more purchase. Steps need to be taken, whatever way you look at it.
DO YOU AGREE? DISAGREE? IS THERE ANOTHER WAY TO REPAIR THE ERRATIC WAY THE INDUSTRY WORKS?
COMMENT BELOW YOUR THOUGHTS ARE MUCH APPRECIATED.
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