All 3 entries tagged Nick Broomfield
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December 25, 2007
Contemporary British Cinema: Representing the World Locally
If you have arrived here from the Chronology of European Cinema page the reason is that the film you are interested can be understood as part of the theme above. You will find a link below which will take you to a specialist page. See also Globalisation and Cinema Hub Page
Introduction: The Misrepresentations of Global Cinema
As an important media form Cinema as a whole functions through systems of representing the world . How it represents the world and what it represents are extremly important in terms of influencing opinion. The whole global economy is currently in a phase which Manuel Castells has described as a 'Networked society' others call it 'information society' and the 'information economy'. Whilst some consider that the Capitalist system underpinnng this phase is 'Late' Capitalism this comment is more speculative and / or polemical than proven. What is the case is that liberal, largely uncontrolled and deregulated, free market capitalism as an economic system has never been so powerful as it is in its current phase. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the Soviet bloc of Eastern and Central Europe from 1989 onwards has been a central part of this process. The economic regime institued by the Thatcher / Reagan coupling was called "Shock Therapy" in which vast numbers of citizens in the former Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc lost their savings and their jobs. The old style communict China becoming increasingly isolated it has been changing its internal model of the economy and the political management of this to accomodate capitalism. As a result it now plays a hugely important role in world markets as it has taken over the mantle of 'workshop of the world', a mantle that was a British one for much of the 19th century.
The human cost of this process has been and is horrendous but much of this process has been largely unrepresented in the popular media. where it has been represented the outcomes of these vast global changes has been represented as a threat from the desperate victims who have been placed in camps in France whilst trying to gain access to the UK by both legal and illegal means.
The reality which many especially those in the middle and controlling elites choose to ignore is that large cities operate largely on the basis of this informal economy of undocumented labour who through this process lose many of thier human rights. It is a process which has been going on longer in the United States and the theorist Mike Davis in his book City of Quartz out in the early 1990s reported on whole shanty cities full of undocumented workers from Latin America as satellite cities of Los Angeles. Naturally Hollywood cinema has not seen fit to represent these social and cultural issues at a serious level.
Contemporary British Cinema: Representions of the Oppressed
British cinema, even in Britain itself, is on the margins of the dominant systems of representation (see The Irresistable Rise of the Multiplex) in recent years it has developed a proud tradition of representing the underdog and ensuring that at least a few people gain a different understanding to the process of real life away from the pathetic populist celebrity glamour that dominates so many media forms.
As can be seen from the list of films below the themes of diaspora and migration and a range of different perspectives upon these processes give us a chance to gain a better understanding of the world. Of the various subthemes which this important response led by British cinema has neglected perhaps the organised criminality associated with sexual exploitation and the sex trade is the most important. It is dealt with partially in Last Resort and Dirty Pretty Things but the film which most powerfully represent this deeply nasty trade is Lilya 4-ever. Finally the British government is in the process of creating legislation to clamp down on this social evil:
Do we think it's right in the 21st Century that women should be in a sex trade or do we think it's exploitation and should be banned (Harriet Harman in BBC report)
This is of course controversial but should not be cosidered as creating a prurient regime rather as removing a mechanism of exploitation in society. Despite the outrage - mainly from men - in the BBC comments box, sexual commodification deeply degrades and denases humanity. Most of those who are victims of it are forced in by economic circumstance, other pressures or through a childhood of sexual abuse. As such the sex trade reinforces and reflects the unequal relationships of economic and gender power within society.
British Cinema and Diaspora
The list of recent British films which have diaspora and migration as a strong underlying theme include:
- The Last Resort: 2000. Pawel Pawlikowski
- Dirty Pretty Things: 2003. Stephen Frears
- In this World:2002. Michael Winterbottom
- Ghosts: 2007. Nick Broomfield
- It's a Free World: 2007. Ken Loach
June 16, 2007
British Directors in Contemporary British Cinema
All active links lead to in house pages on the specific director. Some are still under construction and may not be currently accessible. Please try again soon.
Each page will have a specific webliography and will also have both internal and external links to a range of their films. Obviously this is a major development undertaking and there are currently 30 directors listed below with some more who need to be added.
Apologies for any shortcomings. British contemporary cinema is going to be a key development area in the coming weeks as many visitors are likely to be having an exam on it in the summer. It is recommended that you vist the relevant pages reasonably frequently as there will be quite a lot of change. Pages will be opened as soon as possible and the priority will be to provide a range of the best possible current web links which are considered as good quality.
I hope you will find the system useful.
This posting is aimed at the interested general viewer in keeping up to date with British Films and film makers. It also functions as a core resource for the current OCR A2 Unit on Contemporary British Cinema.
Please note the term British Cinema is not the same as British Films. Cinema refers to the industrial systems of production, distribution, and exhibition as a whole. It can also refer to the criticics and reviewers who are employed at any given moment. Directors and the films they make here are only a small part of the industry as a whole.
The list below is primarily taken from the BFI Screenonline Directors on British and Irish Cinema. There are a couple of inclusions of directors who don't really make films in the UK or about the UK. Sir Ridley Scott being one of these and Sir Alan Parker being another. They tend to prove the rule that Hollywood is the global centre of filmmaking which is both American and yet has an extra dimension to it which proves highly attractive to the most successful filmmakers in the world in terms of gaining audiences at least. There are some surprising omissions from the Screenonline listings such as Paul Greengrass. Here I have linked to Wikipedia in the first instance.
List of Contemporary British Directors
Arnold Andrea (1961 -).
Attenborough, Richard (Lord) (1923 - )
Bird, Antonia (1959 - )
Boyle, Danny (1956-)
Branagh Kenneth (1960 -)
Broomfield, Nick (1948 -)
Chadha, Gurinder (1960 - )
Dibb Saul (?)
Daldry, Stephen (1961 - )
Davies, Terence (1945 - )
Forsyth, Bill (1946 -)
Gavron, Sarah ( )
Gilliam, Terry (1940 - )
Greenaway, Peter (1942 -)
Herman, Mark (1954-)
Joffe Roland (1945 - )
Jordan, Neill (1950 -)
Julien, Isaac (1960 - )
Kapur, Shekah ( )
Leigh, Mike (1943 - )
Loach, Ken (1936 - )
Madden, John (1949- )
Meadows, Shane (1973 -)
Parker, Alan (Sir) (1944-)
Poliakoff Stephen (1952-)
Potter, Sally (1949 -)
Ramsay Lynne (1969 -)
Ritchie Guy (1968 - )
Scott, Ridley (Sir) (1939 -)
Winterbottom, Michael (1961 - )
Wright Joe (1972- )
TO VIEW OTHER CINEMA DEVELOPMENTS IN BRITAIN AND EUROPE PLEASE GO TO THE CHRONOLGY OF EUROPEAN CINEMA HUB PAGE
March 23, 2007
Ghosts: 2007: dir Nick Broomfield
For those of you following the theme of 'British Cinema's Reaction to Globalisation and Global Events' it is an important film to note and should be seen at the earliest opportunity in order to compare with the other British films which have been covered.
Below there are a range of links to good quality reviews plus official sites, blogs and interviews. There is the facility to hear an interview with the director amd to see a short extract on the BBC film Network site as well as the trailer on the official site. There is also a brief contextual overview relating Ghosts to other British and European films which are examining the forces driving diaspora and some of the unpleasant outcomes for those who do emigrate.
Link to Official Web Site
Click here for BBC Film Network Site. Video interview and a short scene from the film are accessible here. (You will require Realplayer)
Click here to access Nick Broomfield's Guardian Blog
Much of the film is taken from the work of journalist Hsiao-Hung Pai:
born in Taiwan and now lives in Britain. She writes for the Guardian newspaper, specialising in stories about the Chinese community. She also writes for UK-Chinese publications. Her latest Chinese-language work is Hidden Assembly Line: Undocumented workers in Britain, published in February 2006. (From Open Democracy site see webliography below).
Contextual Overview of British Cinema's Responses to Globalisation
In early April 2007 Tartan Video are releasing Ghosts which is a film bearing witness to the pain and danger endured by the undocumented workers from China who form a major part of Britian's hidden economy which has thrived under ten years of 'New Labour'. It also functions as a critique of neo-liberal economic policies at the expense of social policy. It also important to note the EU has failed to take the measures necessary to stop this trade. This includes such policy areas as agricultural policy. As such the much vaunted 'joined up thinking' aspired to by New Labour ten years ago has failed to materialise.
Ghosts bears witness to the dreadful night in February 2004 when 23 Chinese workers died on the sands of Blackpool. It was an event which finally brought the dreadful situation of undocumented workers into the limelight. It is well known that London runs on the sweat of undocumented labour in clothing, low value services such as sweatshops and the so-called 'sex industry' a name which appears to legitimise the 'new' slave trade of the 21st century of women being brought and held against their will to service British sexual fantasies (presumably mainly male). It is a subject touched upon by British cinema but to my knowledge best dealt with in Lucas Moodysson's Lilya 4-Ever (2002, Sweden). Stephen Frears' Dirty Pretty Things (2002) effectively exposed many of dodges in London as well as the apalling trade in body parts. Pawlikowski's Last Resort (2001) dealt with the way in which British men exploit and mislead women in vulnerable positions in Eastern Europe. Michael Winterbottom's In this World (2002) and Ghosts can be more strongly linked with Lilya 4-Ever in that all three seek to represent the powerful forces which push people into desparate migrations often right across the World.
Of the British films dealing in differing ways with the pressures of globalisation upon the weaker countries of the World dirty Pretty Things (BBC), Last Resort (BBC) and Ghosts (Film Four - See note 1) were all backed directly by TV. This is laudable as it is clear that a Public Service Broadcasting remit has gone beyonf the artificiality of national boundaries to explore problems n the World in relation to Britain which is as it should be.
1) Wikipedia suggests Film Four were involved in backing the film however I haven't found any other evidence to corroborate this at present. This will be updated when this is confirmed.
Please note these sites were pop-up free when visited. The Times review has a pop-up and is not included.
May 08 2008 Gangmaster loses licence. BBC Report on mass exploitation of Polish Workers in UK.