All entries for December 2007

December 31, 2007

Representing Changing Britain: Ethnicity & Hybridity

Representing Changing Britain: Ethnicity and Hybridity

Return to Contemporary British Cinema Hub


Preface:

If you have arrived here from the Chronology of European Cinema Page it is because the film you are interested in can be understood as part of a theme you will find the film you were after hyperlinked below. Hopefully you will be interested in following up the thematic approach as well.

Some of this page is still under development however there are a range of useful links available.

(See also Kinoeye Reference on Globalisation

Introduction


This is the second of the themes being covered in Contemporary British Cinema. One of the most important things that a form of mass media should be doing is ensuring that it represents aspects of social change in society for no society stays fast-frozen in time for long. Britain has had a proud history of being a safe haven for many persecuted individuals and groups and they have often played an important role in the developments of British history itself not only making Britian what it is today but shaping it for things to come. In many ways British cinema as a whole institution doesn't do a very good job in representing social change and different aspects of the multiple layers of society which form Britain today.  

It must be emphasised here that in writing of British cinema I'm considering the whole institution of the cinema which is largely in thrall to rampant commercialism in the twin forms of the multiplex and Hollywood dominance of film making and it concommittent marketing power. It is ironical that it is British TV which has been central to the maintenance of good quality and challenging films in Britain since the early 1980s up until the present day.   

The main purpose of this page is to introduce some of the concepts of ethnicity and hybridity and the importance of these representations for the development of the concept of cultural citizenship.  By talking of citizenship this implies that citizens should have a right of representation within the media, however as with most rights they have to be hard fought for as it is not perceived as being in the immediate interests of those in the dominant positions to give those positions up without a fight.  There will then be a list of hyperlinked films which are ones which have dealt with this aspect of social change in Britain. Lastly there will be a general webliography however the individual film entries will hold the film specific links. 

The Concept of Ethnicity

Sorry under construction

The Concept of Hybridity

Sorry under construction

List of Relevant Films

Links will redirect to film specific pages once these are ready.  

My Beautiful Laundrette, 1985. Dir: Stephen Frears

Bahji on the Beach, 1993. Gurinder Chadha

Wild West, 1992. Dir: David Attwood

My Son the Fanatic, 1997. Dir. Udayan Prasad

East is East, 1999. Dir:Damien O' Donnell

Bend it Like Beckham, 2002. Dir Gurinder Chadha

Anita & Me, 2002. Dir: Metin Hüseyin

Ae Fond Kiss, 2003. Dir Ken Loach

Yasmin, 2004. Dir: Kenny Gleenan

Brick Lane, 2007. Dir: Sarah Gavron



Webliography 

Institute of Ideas. (They run the Culture Wars review site)

Director Munira Mirza on diversity 

Meet the Immigrants.  A joint BBC & Open University Broadcasting initiative helping to create a better understanding of global issues.



December 30, 2007

The Wind That shakes the Barley

The Wind That Shakes the Barley. 2006. dir Ken Loach

(Palm d'Or Winner, Cannes Film Festival 2006)

Currently there has been no time to give the film a proper review however interested visitors can follow the links below. From the perspective of  contemproary British cinema winning the Palme d'Or at Cannes is highly prestigious and very unusual for a low budget left-wing fim maker. 



The top 20 UK films grossed £151 million at the box office in 2006 with Casino Royale, The Da Vinci Code, Flushed Away, The Queen, Stormbreaker, Children of Men, The History Boys and The Wind that Shakes the Barley the most popular. The latter proved to be Ken Loach’s most successful film to date whilst also picking up the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival. (My emphasis, cited in Screen South film Report for 2006)




Webliography 

Sweet Sixteen: The Wind That Shakes the Barley  . This site is part of the Ken loach production team and provides a wealth of information about the film and is a good first port of call

BBC Ken Loach interview (Trailer also viewable) 

BBC news report on Ken Loach winning the Palm d'Or at Cannes

Guardian review of Wind That Shakes the Barley

Open Democracy site. Historian Stephen Howe cast an analytical eye upon The Wind That Shakes the Barley

Daily Telegraph Review of The Wind That Shakes the Barley

Wikipedia on the original song "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" inspiring the film.

Wikipedia on the Ken Loach film The Wind That Shakes the Barley




Film Availability :      Wind That Shakes the Barley DVD Cover




RETURN TO BRITISH DIRECTORS HUB PAGE 



It's A Free World,2007: Dir: Ken Loach


It's a Free World. 2007. Dir Ken Loach

(See also the Kinoeye Reference Section: Globalisation

Introduction

This entry is currently going to be limited to being a webliography rather than a full critique and analysis. It is part of an ongoing analysis of contemporary British cinema and its responses to the processes of globalisation and diaspora which are a major feature of contemporary networked society. As such it is cross linked to this entry: Contemporary British Cinema: Representing the World Locally

It's a Free World (2007)

From the persepctive of the successes of British cinema and the importance of their film makers this is a prize winning film gaining an important award at the prestigious Venice Film Festival of Best Screenplay, Venice Film Festival 2007 as well as Best Film, Seville Film Festival 2007. Yet again the British cinematic system prefers to recognise profits rather then prophets so this did not appear in a multiplex near you despite the accolades.

The film has a title which is steeped in irony for what it is seeking to do is to represent at the level of the individuals who play their part how these parts link up to the wider scheme of things. The fact that Angie and her mate Rose don't have any form of secure work to go to as a matter of providing for everyday existence means they need to become entrepreneurial. when you have nothing behind you in terms of financial or cultural capital (a combination of education and contacts to work with) then people become attracted to  the 'cowboy', 'shadow', 'underground' or 'black' economy. Angie and Rose establish a recruitment agency for migrant workers, who come to Britain because conditions have become so bad for them in their original countries of residence. combined with the entrepreneurs who are a bit further up the scale actually providing the underpaid and deperate conditions in which the migrants get recruited into form the other link in the equation. The migrants form an essential part of what Marx called the 'reserve army of labour' and what Loach is doing here is introducing audiences to this palpable aspect of globalisation.  

Success abroad and straight to DVD in the UK

As is frequently the case this British film received accolades at a prestigious film festival however because of the distribution and exhibition in the UK being so weighted against more independent films this film was distributed differently.  

"Osella" for Paul Laverty at Venice Film Festival:
"It's a Free World" wins "Best Screenplay"

(Sept. 9th 2007) Paul Laverty won the "Osella" for the Best Screenplay for "It's a Free World" (directed by Ken Loach) at this year's Venice Film Festival. Besides the drama was awarded with a EIUC Human Rights Film Award and got a special mention a the Signis Awards.

Trailer in Italian available here

Review from Amanda Palmer of It's a Free World as part of a film review programme from Al Jazeera

Production Credits

Director: Ken Loach

Producer: Rebecca O'Brien

Screenplay by: Paul Laverty

Music by: George Fenton

Cinematography by: Nigel Willoughby

Editor: Jonathan Morris

Production Design: Fergus Clegg


Cast 

Angie: Kierston Wareing

Rose:  Juliet Ellis

Karol:  Leslaw Zurek

Geoff (Angie's father) : Colin Caughlin

Jamie: Joe Siffleet

Webliography for It's a Free World

The Sweet Sixteen Website It's a Free World This website is a core resource for anybody interested in or studying the cinema of Ken Loach. Not only does it provide details of the film but in depth production note, external links and extracts of interviews form the actors are included. 

Observer report on It's a Free World

Socialist worker interview with Ken Loach about Its a Free World

European Films.Net Review of It's a Free World

Reuters Report on It's a Free World 

A different Reuters Report on It's a Free World

Guardian interview with Loach and Laverty at the Southbank

Independent Review of It's a Free World

Fujifilm PDF on Its a Free World. (Excellent images on this)

Loach makes union workers aware of wider issues attending screening for Unison branch 

Webliography for Migrant Labour conditions in Britain 

May 08/2008: "Gangmaster Stripped of License". The BBC reports on real life exploitation of Polish workers. Loach is not exaggerating!! 

New evidence of 'bonded labour'

BBC Video on migrant labour conditions:

RETURN TO BRITISH DIRECTORS HUB PAGE 


Ludwig,1973. Dir: Luchino Visconti

Ludwig,1973, Italy. dir Luchino Visconti

Introduction

This magnificent film has recently been released in its four hour original version on DVD. There is currently no time available to write a proper article on the film which is on the never ending 'to do' list. This entry thus constitutes a search of Google at the end of 2007 down to page 25 for good quality entries on Visconti's Ludwig. As with many of his other films there is a remarkable paucity of useful material. Thankfully the Google project of being able to view parts of books online has come to the rescue with the entry from Henry Bacon's book on Visconti: Explorations of Beauty and Decay being a must. For those serious about their Visconti it should be bought anyway!

For now this  entry will function as a small hub for those intersted in following up this film.

Return to main Visconti hub page

Credits

  • Director: Luchino Visconti
  • Script: Suso Cecchi d'Amico, Enrico Medioli, Luchino Visconti
  • Photo: Armando Nannuzzi
  • Music: Jacques Offenbach, Robert Schumann, Richard Wagner
  • Cast: Helmut Berger (Ludwig), Trevor Howard (Richard Wagner), Silvana Mangano (Cosima Von Buelow), Romy Schneider (Elisabeth of Austria), Gert Fröbe (Father Hoffmann), Helmut Griem (Count Duerckheim), Izabella Telezynska (Queen Mother), Umberto Orsini (Count Von Holstein), John Moulder-Brown (Prince Otto), Sonia Petrovna (Sophie), Folker Bohnet (Joseph Kainz), Heinz Moog (Professor Gudden), Adriana Asti (Lila Von Buliowski), Marc Porel (Richard Hornig), Nora Ricci (Countess Ida Ferenczy), Mark Burns (Hans Von Buelow), Maurizio Bonuglia (Mayor)
  • Country: France
  • Language: French
  • Runtime: 245 min

Webliography 

Google look at Bacon's Visconti Explorations of Beauty and Decay. (This should be the first stop for those seriously intersted in Visconti). 

Cecchi D'amico Visconti's main screenwriter 

Ludwig as Gesamstkunstwerk

Romy Schneider: Wikipedia

Romy Schneider: Films de France 

Ludwig as Gesamtkusntwerk: Afterimage,  Jan-Feb, 2004  by Sven Lutticken
BFI Death Becomes Visconti Sight and Sound article.

Google viewable extract from Neurological Disorders in Famous Artists

Google viewable extract from Bondanella's Italian Cinema

Visconti and Fellini: From Left Social Neorealism to Right-Hemisphere Stroke PDF

Google viewable extract of the Culture of Queers by Richard Dyer

BFI Biography of Visconti

Film Availability :       Ludwig DVD Cover

Ludwig is available from MovieMail here.  



Facebook: Galvanising the Power of Consumer Advocacy

Power of Facebook affects law

Internet law professor Michael Geist looks at how Facebook has the power to affect legislation.

(Michael Geist holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law.)

In this story Geist tells of how a concern he posted on Facebook about proposals to changes in copyright law to a few friends rapidly galvanised tens of thousands into action. Here he argues that this is perhaps the most important issue to takeaway from 2007 which has definitely been Facebook's year in terms of profile on the internet.   


December 29, 2007

Kaneva: A Different Approach to Virtual Worlds

Kaneva : A Different Approach to Virtual Worlds?

Kaneva, a virtual world that launched this year, is the brainchild of Chris Klaus, who developed it after he sold his internet security company to IBM.....

....Kaneva encourages the use of true identities and personal information to help people interact. He says virtual interaction is much more immediate than in real life. “It’s much easier to read your profile in the virtual world and see you have the same friends and interests and, all of a sudden, you have those connections. (Financial Times Nuttall October 26 2007)

Meet Me 3D at Kaneva.com

Kaneva, which comes from the Latin word for a blank canvas, has been in development since 2004 and is the pet project of Chris Klaus, the former chief executive of internet security company ISS, sold to IBM last year for $1.3bn. As a dumbed down version of Second Life / Sims there is an emphasis on trying to attract an audience which is out for entertainment rather than creating their own world from scratch. It will be a place to chat with your mates in 3D but easy to access: 

Many people were put off by the degree of difficulty in navigating Second Life and building their characters, he said. Kaneva’s avatars are as simple to construct as a Sims person and they will find it hard to get lost – they are restricted to going home to their apartments or teleporting to friends’, wandering around a mall or playing paintball in a jungle. (FT Tech Blog)

Webliography 

Business Week There are several stories here about the potential development of Virtual Worlds.


(Red) Facebook over Beacon Advertising Technology

Redfaced Face Book in climbdown over Beacon Advertising Technology

Introduction

Below I take a look at the ill fated initial attempt by Facebook to install an intrusive Advertising programme called Beacon onto its platform in a clear breach of privacy. From the examples below it seems clear that users of social networking sites will have to remain very vigilant if they are not to be exploited by the provider.  

Beacon Advertising Technology

Mark Zuckerberg the 23-year-old founder of Facebook, said the company had “made a lot of mistakes” in building its new Beacon technology. The Beacon technology sends messages when a Facebook user makes purchases on outside websites.

Beacon has proved the most controversial of several new money-making technologies launched by the social network site last month. Facebook has come under pressure to perfect a revenue model after a recent Microsoft investment valued the company at $15bn. (FT Kevin Allison December 6 2007)

In its original version the Beacon software would  broadcast a message  to a user’s friends automatically unless the user elected, within a certain amount of time, not to broadcast it.

Friends of a Facebook user who buys a book on Amazon.com, for example, may see a message about the purchase when they log onto Facebook. (FT Kevin Allison November 30 2007)

Internet Privacy

In the face of 50,000 complaints and the beginnings of a Move on campaign (details here) Facebook backed down . Mr Zuckerberg said Facebook would further tighten Beacon’s privacy controls by allowing users to opt out of the service altogether. Last year, users protested about breaches of privacyafter it introduced “News Feed”. This was a piece of software which allowed users to keep track of their friends’ actions on the site. Google became the next company to fall foul of user wrath at breaches of privacy:

On December 14, Google’s RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed reader application, Google Reader, introduced a new feature that lets you share posts with anyone in your Gmail or Gtalk contact list. The problem is that you don’t want to share some of these posts with your boss or maybe with your mother, or anyone in your list that you hardly speak to. And as if this is not enough, Google Reader provides no way to opt out of the feature short or deleting every item you’ve ever shared. (E Flux Media)

Google Blog Reader

Google responded in the following way on December 26: 

We'd hoped that making it easier to share with the people you chat with often would be useful and interesting, but we underestimated the number of users who were using the Share button to send stories to a limited number of people," said the blog. (ibid).

It is clear from these examples that users of social networking sites do have the power to change the way in which the institution concerned delivers its services. This is clear difference to the days of the centralised models of mass media which delivered products to audiences who had little or no interconnectivity with each other.  In this sense those companies seeking to ride the wave of Web 2.0 are required to be very responsive to their audiences stated needs otherwise they can easily evaporate into cyberspace.

In the EU we seem to have more protection from this sort of thing than in the US through a privacy directive:

The Directive is Directive 95/46/EC (as in the European Commission). The precedent is the “Safe Harbour” Agreement. This privacy Directive was meant to standardize the exchange of private information within the EU Member States. A significant aspect of the common market is the capacity of consumers to shop and purchase in other Member States. The need to permit private information to flow freely prompted the creation of the Directive, which set rather high (in the mind of a USA-based marketer) standards for the use of private information. (EU for US Blog)

Webliography 

CNET News on Zuckerberg apology

PC World on Beacon

ITN News on Facebook and Beacon

WickiHow How to Block Beacon on Facebook


Facebook still in the News

Facebook Still in the News

Facebook’s transformation from a quirky internet start-up into one of the most talked-about companies in Silicon Valley is sure to be remembered as one of 2007’s biggest technology stories.(Kevin Allison: FT December 28 2007)

In May 2007 Facebook announced that it would allow outside developers to develop applications for Facebook such as games and slide-shows for use in the site. This gained a very favourable response as Facebook has a large and growing market. As the Money Programme puts it below, however it asks searching questions which are related to to any media company either on or offline. How has it outstripped the opposition and will the audience remaion for as every media company knows audiences are fickle: 

Facebook seemed to come from nowhere to everywhere in 2007.

One person in eight in the UK has become a registered member.Why has Facebook been so successful against stiff competition from other social network sites?And as the company tries to turn its popularity into profits, will its millions of members stay faithful? (Facehooked BBC Money Programme)

Comscore an organisation which tracks webtraffic estimed that Facebook received over 92 million unique visitors in November 2007.  This compares with 104 million unique visitors for MySpace in the same period which is a far more established company. The rate of growth for Facebook since November 2006 has been an impressive 400% compared to MySpace's 26%. Whilst an impressive rate of growth from a relatively low base is easier to achieve in a short time clearly if these figures were to continue Rupert Murdoch's MySpace as  the foremost social networking site is under threat.

Business interst in Facebook is underpinning this growth and gaining widespread interst amongst the business community. Given that Facebook's audience is amongst university students soon to be embarking upon successful careers the potential for longer term audience retention and the possible growth in advertising revenues can hardly be ignored. As reported in a previous posting Microsoft made an initial investment buying up 1.6% of the company. This was closely followed by Li Kashing a Hong Kong businessman of $60 million.



Comscore Chart

Above Comscore chart of Facebook usage pattern from Aug 05 - Aug 06. Unsurprisingly for a site devoted to university students usage goes down in the holidays. Roll on more wireless internet laptops under the sun umbrellas!



Overall these deals value Facebook at $15 billion. This can be compared to the price Google paid for YouTube of around $1.65 billion overall. In general terms then social networking sites with an established audience are becoming increasingly valuable. These figures also help to put the value of Linden Labs Second Life in perspective. currently the number of residents of about 11 million with aroud 38,000 online at any one time is still not attracting the bigger players. Microsoft is clearly intersted in audiences numbering tens of millions. 

Allison analyses the three constituent groups who comprise the audience and instituional combination which defines the media equation of the site but who have competing desires:

  • The users whose social connections power the site
  • The developers whose applicationskeep people interested
  • The advertisers upon whom Facebook is reliant for making money
“Facebook has these three constituent groups and it’s a really difficult balancing act, especially when you are trying to be innovative,” says Jeremiah Owyang, an analyst at Forrester Research (Cited Allison ibid)

Two groups have been frustrated over the past year. Users have become concerned over privacy issues - to be dealt with later- whilst  software developers have found the frequent changes to the site's software through tweaking awkward to deal with requiring immediate tweaks of their own. Currently the situation is very fluid as the key perspective from the viewpoint of Media institutions is how to monetise the assetts of social networking:

“We are in an early stage in trying to monetise social media,” says Jeremy Liew of Lightspeed Venture Partners, a venture capital group that is an investor in RockYou, one of the leading makers of Facebook applications. Speaking of Facebook’s trouble with Beacon, Mr Liew says, “there are bound to be mistakes made” as social networks experiment with new advertising models.(Allison ibid)

Social Networking and Advertising Futures

Liew is confident that in the medium term a stable model of advertising driven social networking sites will emerge and that looking between 5 or 10 years this will have happened however over the coming few months there is still likely to be a lot of experimentation. Unlike audiences who may be preparedto put up with a few issues if they are changed rapidly in response to audience feedback marketers who are putting the money up front are unlikely to be so tolerant.

What does seem certain is that social networking is going to become a massive creator of adertising revenue. The content will be user generated but oiled by useful and entertaining applications. Rupert Murdoch renowned for being media-savvy and being able to develop and influence trends was certainly perceptive to invest in MySpace. The fact that Microsoft has made a move into this niche market after years of experience in networking with MSN shows that this is likely to be the fastest growing area of advertising revenue in the coming years. As Gabriel
Ready from the Open University has commented there is no such thing as a free web-trip or (lunch in cyberspace):

As Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg explained, quite simply, these sites are based on a business model of selling targeted advertisements. Targeted advertisements, unlike traditional broadcast adverts, rely on information about their targets. And we--the users--are the targets. It's inevitable that companies like Facebook will want to gather more and more information about us as users, because it is that rich mine of data about us that advertisers are willing to pay for. (My emphasis, Ready: OU Open2.Net)

Webliography 

Facebook set for a delicate balancing act


December 26, 2007

In This World: Michael Winterbottom

In This World: 2002. Dir. Michael Winterbottom


Introduction

This entry is currently going to be limited to being a webliography. It is part of an ongoing analysis of contemporary British cinema and its responses to the processes of globalisation and diaspora which are a major feature of contemporary networked society. As such it is cross linked to this entry: Contemporary British Cinema: Representing the World Locally


Awards and Accolades

Berlin Film Festival Golden Bear 2003

BAFTA Film Award 2004  best film not in the English Language category.  

Webliography 

BBC Review In This World

BBC Interview with Michael Winterbottom

Wikipedia In This World 

Indiewire disussion with Michael Winterbottom

Daily Telegraph review: In This World

Chris Darke on Globalisation and In This World

Guardian on In This World

Observer commentary on In This World. (Very useful comments on the industrial and exhibitionary background)

Tony Grisoni on his role in In This World 

Screenonline Bibliography of Michael Winterbottom 

Daily Telegraph Film Makers on Film: Michael Winterbottom

Senses of Cinema on Michael Winterbottom

Philip French Observer Review


Film Availability :           In This World DVD Cover


In This World is available from MovieMail here.  


RETURN TO BRITISH DIRECTORS HUB PAGE 


Dirty Pretty Things. Dir Stephen Frears

Dirty Pretty Things: 2003. Dir. Stephen Frears

(For Kinoeye entry on Stephen Frears link here)

(See also Kinoeye Reference on Globalisation

NB:

Warning: Teacher and Lecturer Warning. It is possible for students to subscribe to a response to a question on this film !

Introduction

This entry is currently going to be limited to being a webliography. It is part of an ongoing analysis of contemporary British cinema and its responses to the processes of globalisation and diaspora which are a major feature of contemporary networked society. As such it is cross linked to this entry: Contemporary British Cinema: Representing the World Locally



Awards and Accolades

The Political Film Society has nominated Dirty Pretty Things as best film exposé and best film on human rights of 2003. MH


BIFA awards won by Dirty Pretty Things

2003

BIFA nominations received by Dirty Pretty Things

2003

  • Best Screenplay (Steve Knight)
  • Best Director of a British Independent Film (Stephen Frears)
  • Best British Independent Film
  • Most Promising Newcomer (Chiwetel Ejiofor)
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a British Independent Film (Chiwetel Ejiofor)
  • Best Performance by a Supporting Actor or Actress in a British Independent Film (Sophie Okonedo)
  • Best Performance by a Supporting Actor or Actress in a British Independent Film (Benedict Wong)


Webliography 

BBC Film Review Dirty Pretty Things

BBC Interview with Stephen Frears

Daily Telegraph review of Dirty Pretty Things

Daily Telegraph interview with Stephen Frears

Indiewire review and interview of Dirty Pretty Things and Frears

Wikipedia on Dirty Pretty Things

Guardian Review Dirty Pretty Things

Guardian Review with Chiwetel Ejiofor

Literary London review of Dirty Pretty Things

British Council Brit Films Catalogue entry Dirty Pretty Things

Political Film Society Review of Dirty Pretty Things

British Medical Journal Review of Dirty Pretty Things

Camera Obscura article on Dirty Pretty Things. This requires subsription access 

Screenonline biography of Stephen Frears 




Film Availability :             Dirty Pretty Things DVD Cover

Dirty Pretty Things is available from MovieMail here.


RETURN TO BRITISH DIRECTORS HUB PAGE 



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