All 18 entries tagged British Cinema From 1990
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January 01, 2008
British Directors: Paul Andrew Williams
Director Paul Andrew Williams
Paul Andrew Williams has proved to be a highly successful new British director. His first feature film London to Brighton was very successful for a low budget film. This has helped to attract more support from the purseholders.
Williams' next film is going to be The Cottage. It is a thriller which includes in its acting line-up Andy Serkis who was in Lord of the Rings. The UK Film Council's Premiere Fund has provided £770,000 of backing. Isle of Man Film, Screen Yorkshire and Pathe have also provided support.
London to Brighton won the Skillset New Director’s Award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. The film has also won the Jury Prizes at Dinard and Raindance, and earned three nominations at the British Independent Film Awards.
London to Brighton named by The Guardian as “best British film of the year”
London to Brighton. Pimp Derek orders Kelly to get him a girl for a client
The Cottage 2008 '...an anarchic, gory horror-comedy'
BBC Film Network. Includes video extract.
A DVD is currently available
Please note currently under construction
For further Kinoeye reference pages please go to the: Kinoeye Reference Hub
Globalisation is a very important concept which helps to explain the state of the contemporary World. Media and Communications theorists have played an important role in developing the theories of globalisation going back to the work of Marshall McLuhan in the early 1960s. Globalisation itself can be broken down into several distinct spheres for the purposes of discussion. These spheres of course overlap in practice but it is useful to identify the spheres as economic, political, and cultural. If you have found this page and others associated with it as they are built, you are likely to have come from a films page. The importance of this more abstract work is to try and gain a more anchored understanding of what it is the fim makers are representing at the level of the underlying process which position particular human actors in these sorts of positions and which the film actors are portraying.
From Rocco and His Brothers 1960. Arrival in Milan carrying migrant labour from the Mezzogiorno
Whilst contemporary British cinema is currently perhaps the best in the World when it comes to representing these issues it should not be forgotten that other films have represented the economic and political processes which force migration and diaspora. Notable amongst these are Visconti's Rocco and his Brothers (1960) which charted through representing the developments in a single family the massive internal migration in Italy from south to north which was the basis of the Italian postwar 'economic miracle' , and Fassbinder's Fear Eats the Soul (1974) about the infamous Gastarbeiter economic system which existed in Germany and was crucial to its postwar economic re-development. By comparison Britain and France were reliant upon their colonies and empires which as they were breaking up also provided much needed labour upon which their postwar restructuring and development was based upon. Another film which shows the brutal exploitation of ordinary people especially women is Lucas Moodysson's Lilya 4-Ever based upon the true story of a Lithuanian teenage girl who gets trapped into the global sex-slave trade as the former Soviet Union is economically devastated by the shock therapy regime imposed by the Thatcher Reagan neo-liberal planners.
Image from Fassbinder's powerful film Fear Eats the Soul (1974) examining the Gastarbeiter sytem and also tackling ageism and attitudes to mixed race relationships in society.
Globalisation and Economics
In talking about globalisation and economics what is meant is the transformation of the different styles and types of economies into an integrated system in which each part becomes increasingly interdependent with the other parts.
The most important area of change has been the globalisation of financial markets. This is apparent in the flows of capital around the world with money being exchanged electronically. The money is used to finance international trade and for a range of investment purposes. Thiese could range to the investment in physical goods especially by Multinational companies (NMCs) or else by financial institutions using financial instruments such as the 'carry trade'. The carry trade is where institutions buy a currency such as the Japanese Yen which is at a very low interst rate. They then reinvest this money in a fairly safe currency like the US Dollar which pays a much higher interest. The finacial company concerned pockets the difference. (Mad or what?).
Financial globalisation really got under way once information technology had improved. Global markets can now operate in real time and funds can be transferred instantaneously.
another key aspect of economic globalisation is the continuing increase in wealth and power of Multi-National Companies. They are largely responsible for the massive increase in global trade since the middle of the 1980s. The largest ones have economic turnovers and earn greater amounts of money that far exceed many smaller nations. As a result say Abercrombie et al MNCs:
...are largely beyond the control of any national government (Abercrombie et al 2000 p 153).
With the increasing intensifcation of the networked society Castells identified a tendency for the increasing power of criminal networks which have a global reach.
Globalisation and Culture
It is argued that there is an increasing globalisation of culture especially through the:
- The increasing power and extended global reach of Mass Media Companies - which are often MNCs. Some argue there is a form of cultural imperialism being operated through mass media companies
- Mechanisms of mass tourism
- Increasing flows of migration as a response to economic change
- An ideology of consumerism which some argue is 'debasing' local cultures
- The marketing activites of Multi-National Companies (MNCs)
In the field of culture these influences and processes have lead to the theorisation of hybridity which refers to the ways in which these processes are articulated in tensions and changes concerning local customs and practices in relation to emerging standards and ideas often present in the cosmopolitan mega-cities or megalopolis.
Globalisation and Politics
In the realm of politics but with strong overlaps to economics there has been a rise in the importance of powerful international agencie such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organisation (WTO). These are in an increasingly powerful position to regulate the World economy and thus limit the powers of national states.
Political sociologists have identified a number of issues which appear to be eroding the power of national states. These include environmental issues, citizenship rights and definitions, migration and inter-ethnic / inter-racial conflict.
Abercrombie, Hill and Turner. 2000 (4th edition): The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology. Harmondsworth: Penguin
Globalisation A BBC Hub Page
December 31, 2007
Representing Changing Britain: Ethnicity and Hybridity
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)
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.
Institute of Ideas. (They run the Culture Wars review site)
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. 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)
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)
Wikipedia on the original song "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" inspiring the film.
Film Availability :
December 24, 2007
British Directors: Shane Meadows (1973 -)
Along with many other British director entries this entry is 'work in progress' nevertheless it will provide a basic signposting to other available resources on the web in the first instance until I'm able to make a fuller evaluation.
There are some useful links in the webliography including an extract at the BBC Film Network site.
2008: Somers Town
2006: This Is England
2004: Dead Man's Shoes
1999: A Room for Romeo Brass
Film availability: These DVDs are available
BBC Film Network interview with Shane Meadows. (Viewable extract available).
Screenonline: Smalltime (Debut Feature)
Lynne Ramsay (1969-)
Along with many other British director entries this entry is 'work in progress' nevertheless it will provide a basic signposting to other available resources on the web in the first instance until I'm able to make a fuller evaluation.
Morven Callar (2002)
October 29, 2007
Qualifying as a British film & tax relief
One of the puzzling questions for A Level Students is what counts as a British film. It isn't very obvious as the murky world of film financing , tax dodges (sorry breaks) can make very unlikley films "British. Because of this there are several benchmarks that can be applied. Everything below the introduction is taken from the UK Film Council site. Clicking on the links will bring you to the current definitions.
For most normal people rather than international financiers, the so called "cultural test " is the one which we would apply. To pass the cultural test the proposed film must get 16 out of 31 marks. The full table of how to get this can be found by clicking on the appropriate link. This cultural test is largely in accord with the principles of "Cultural Citizenship" which seeks to ensure a diverse set of representations of people within a particular culture at a particular historical moment.
However for the purposes of the exam you will need to be aware of the differing benchmarks and definitions. It is worth pointing out again that the British film industry is much more than British Films. Many people are employed in software or technical positions which are largely dependent upon Hollywood. Thus the British film industry can be doing well when the range of British films produced can be very thin on the ground
Qualifying as a British Film
Qualifying as a British film provides a number of advantages; productions are eligible to apply for UK Film Council funding and for the benefits of the UK’s tax relief structures. Films can qualify as British in one of three ways. They must meet the requirements of one of the following:
- One of the UK’s official bilateral co-production treaties, or
- The European Convention on Cinematographic Co-production
- The Cultural Test (Schedule 1 to the Films Act 1985)
For information on qualifying as a British film via the UK’s official bilateral co-production treaties or the European Convention, click here.
For information on qualifying as a British Film using the Cultural Test, click here.
For information on the UK's system of Tax Relief for British Films, click here.
European Certificate of British Nationality
British qualifying films are eligible for an European Certificate of British Nationality. For information on qualifying for an European Certificate of British Nationality, click here.
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
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
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.