All entries for Saturday 16 June 2007
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
British Women Film Directors
Whilst of general interest to those dealing with issues of gender and cinema this posting should prove useful to those studying Women and Film within the current OCR specification.
Given the large number of British films and the very small number of Women directors the average rocket scientist can swiftly work out that there is a serious gender imbalance within the industry in the UK.
This list of directors is taken from the BFI list of Directors in British and Irish Cinema
plus some additions. Sue Clayton isn't in the list although appears elsewhereon the site. Nor does Andrea Arnold feature in the list. Arnold recently made the film Red Road (2006) and has won at the Oscars and at Cannes. The list amounts to 11 women film directors in the history of British cinema. Not a good record over the last 100 years. Of these several are active film makers and can be included in the specification for OCR Contemporary British Cinema. Of these 11 directors five are currently active and include: Andrea Arnold, Antonia Bird, Gurinder Chadha, Sally Potter, Lynne Ramsey.
Adler, Carine (1948-)
Arnold Andrea (1961 -)
Bird, Antonia (1959 -)
Box Muriel (1905 - 1991)
Chadha, Gurinder (1960 -)
Clayton Sue (? )
Grierson, Ruby (1904-1940)
Mander, Kay (1915 - )
Mulvey, Laura (1941 - )
Potter, Sally (1949 - )
Ramsey Lynne ( 1969 -)
Kate Kellaway Guardian blog: Why is that film-making continues to be the most gender inequitable career in the arts?
Rachel Millward Guardian blog: Kate Kellaway asked what could be done to encourage more women into film-making. Here are my suggestions.
Rachel Millward is the organiser for the Bird's Eye View Women's Film Festival. It is solely to celebrate women film makers and started in 2005 in venues across London.
This page functions as a portal into the important strand of British filmmaking described as social realist. Laid out chronologically this portal will be particularly useful for:
* Those unfamiliar with the history of the British cinema
* Students following undergraduate film studies course to provide an overview before tackiling more in depth work
* 'A' level media students following the current (2006 /07) OCR Media A2 Unit on Media Issues & Debates: Contemporary British Cinema. For the OCR unit it will historically contextualise the continuing use of social realism as a successful film form
* The WJEC Film Studies A level "British & Irish Cinema" Unit.
Social realism has played an important role in both British cinema and TV. The British documentary movement which developed under the leadership of John Grierson was enormously influential in stimulating what became a strand of fiction film described as social realism.
Humphrey Jennings who started out with this movement brought a sense of the surreality of popular culture in everyday life to his work. His wartime docu-dramas and documentary work are exemplary pieces of art working across genres to produce some of the best work ever made by a British director.
Jennings was an inspiration to Lindsay Anderson and those who gathered around him in the British 'Free Cinema'. Technical discoveries by cameraman Walter Lassally were to influence the work of the French New Wave Filmmakers and cinematographers.
The documentary work made by them led into the 'British New Wave' at the beginning of the 1960s.
This in turn led to social realist films and TV documentaries in the mid to late sixties with Ken Loach and Producer Tony Garnett being exemplary. Cathy Come Home was a TV drama which heldped the housing charity Shelter to set up. Poor Cow and Kes are classic Loach films from this period.
While the 1970s and 1980s saw less work of this style films such as Meantime by Mike Leigh were very influential. The actor Gary Oldman was outstanding in this and returned to this form as a director in Nil by Mouth made in the late 1990s.
There was a return to popularity for this kind of film in the 1990s particularly by Ken Loach and Mike Leigh. This has continued up until 2006 with Ken Loach winning the Palm d'or at the Cannes festival for The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006) combining social realism with history.
Brtish social realism has also been strongly influential in other types of films which have combined genres into hybrids such as social-realist / comedy. The Full Monty (1997) and Brassed Off (1996) are good examples of this. Perhaps the first hybrid of this type was Billy Liar (1963) at the end of the British New Wave. This film provided a bridge into the 'Swinging Sixties' particularly in the next film by John Schlesinger Darling which starred Julie Christie as well.
The BFI "Screenonline article on comedy" cites several films which also appear elsewhere as social realistically inflected. Films dealing with changing British identity often combine social realist aspects of life with comedy including East is East (1999) and Bend it Like Beckham (2002).
Webliography laid out chronologically
This covers the British documentary movement and via Free Cinema moves into British Social Realism
BFI Screenonline Biography of Paul Rotha
Links previously on this page are now on the above page plus many more. The page is still under development and further links to analysies of his films are in the pipeline.
From Lindsay Anderson to the Free Cinema
The Impact and Influence of Social Realism in British Cinema a useful Screenonline article.
Tony Aldgate of the Open University discusses British Social Realism
Social Realists in British Cinema from 1990
These two directors have a reputation for working mainly within the social realist tradition although the approaches are still very different. Loach tends to be more macro whilst Leigh is more micro with a style closer to Kammerspiele or chamber plays.
Other British Directors who have used social realism
These directors have made films at times which have been strongly influenced by social realism:
Stephen Frears with Dirty Pretty Things, 2002
Lynne Ramsey Ratcatcher
Michael Winterbottom Welcome to Sarajevo (1998) is a social realist influenced film based upon a true story. His recent The Road to Guantanamo (2006) is a political response to the events and aftermath of 9/11.
Some Social Realist Films From 1990
Life is Sweet, 1990: Mike Leigh. It is marketed as a 'bittersweet comedy" which is quite a good description of many of the social realist / comedy hybrid films
Raining Stones, 1993: Dir Ken Loach
Nil by Mouth 1997: dir Gary Oldman
Authors of British Social Realist Films
Here is a link to Alan Sillitoe author of Saturday Night Sunday Morning commenting recently on the coming ban on smoking in public places