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January 18, 2008

Can We Escape Facebook Stories Right Now?

Can We Escape Facebook Stories Right Now? (or Facebook even?)


Fabook Eye


Whatever else it is, Facebook has become the thing to discuss almost everywhere. With social networking sites taking the teen generation by storm - most of my students at thiws level subscribe to at least two- social networking is a social phenomena that seems set to stay and develop. Those who laughed at Rupert Murdoch for investing in MySpace are certainly laughing on the other side of their face by now. I have to say here the delightful naivety of those teens who subscribe to MySpace and think that "Tom" is the owner makes it worth teaching media studies as the surprised faces realise that they are subsribing to the business empire that owns The Sun and yes The Times. But I digress because the new enemy on the block perhaps far more unpleasant than the right wing anti-BBC stance of Murdoch are the hard-core youngish neo-conservatives who really own Facebook exposed by Tom Hodgkinson in the Guardian earlier this week whilst today the BBC has posted a story on the dangers around privacy concerning Facebook.  


Is Facebook Providing a Challenge to Alternative Systems?


...you could have a Facebook account, and I suspect that this swamps number 1 or 2.  For social networking within the academic community, Facebook is all-conquering, and we observe a startling number of students who have a Facebook account before they arrive or get one soon after they start. And if you already have a Facebook account then it's not immediately obvious that you need another place to write about what you're doing, or another place to share your photos (hence the precipitous drop in the number of photos uploaded; they've all gone into Facebook instead).


With social networking being the new media phenomenon of the moment with every teenager wishing to have 'creds' subscribing to at least one (and often more) social networking accounts, and with Facebook specifically being the 'flavour of the month' traffic and enthusiasm for the less measured sort of social interactions on some other sites may be being reduced. The above quotation from a discussion on Warwick Blogs being a case in point.

Facebook along with other more established social networking sites are excellent examples of 'New Media' institutions becoming established. Either, as in the case of My Space (courtesy Rupert Murdoch), being owned by  rapcious established entrepreneurs or as in the case of Facebook by rapacious new entrepreneurs. The key shift in media provision by the owners is the relaince upon User Generated Content to allow everybody participating in one of these media environments to gossip about each other. It saves employing gossip columnists aprt from anything else. 

As social networking develops and matures it may well be that certain audiences start to move to different social networks which have a different demographic base. Facebook has clearly developed a target audience significantly different to Bebo. If this  continues to develop then  the advertising core behind these sites will start to become more social network site specific. Arguably there is a shift of Lifestyle magazines onto the net with the added advantage for the owners that they pay little or nothing for content provided by the users instead. (Here the net effect of the net is to increasingly push responsibility towards the users - think banking - and provide an environment). Perhaps social networking sites will increasingly focus upon specific demographic factors but provide a global audience for these common factors. Thus social networking could start to provide a huge boost for social and cultural globalisation which has to date still been more of an economic phenomenon. 

Where is it all going?

For cultural studies this raises issues of continuing hybridisation which is something that is probably being researched already. This kind of thing is likely to move into 3D virtual world's as they develop beyond the R & D stage into full media environments.  

Personally I have little doubt that an increasing amount of shopping for a variety of goods will move into virtual 3D environments such as Second Life. This will require a much more efficient broadband infrastructure than currently exists. This week's Economist has written a useful comparative article on the development broadband networks and useage in the World's more developed countries. 

Economist on Broadband


Easy access to cheap, fast internet services has become a facilitator of economic growth and a measure of economic performance. No wonder, then, that statistics show a surge in broadband use, especially in places that are already prosperous. The OECD, a rich-country club, says the number of subscribers in its 30 members was 221m last June—a 24% leap over a year earlier. But it is not always the most powerful economies that are most wired. In Denmark, the Netherlands and Switzerland, over 30% of inhabitants have broadband. In America, by contrast, the proportion is 22%, only slightly above the OECD average of just under 20%. (Economist Jan 19th - 25th, 2008)

Oddly on this analysis the USA is going to have to get its act together in terms of communications infrastructure. social networking popularity is only a low level phase in the development of Web 2.0. The issue is the development of interesting online environments which large numbers of people are going to be comfortable with and 3D environments are going to be the places to be. whilst some will be fantasy areas there will be a lot which are more like mirrors of the everyday in which leisure, value added services and business transactions will take place. 

Of course one set of statistics only gives a very narrow framing of what is happening. As the US has the largest population in the above table then there are presumably a larger number of subscibers hence the mass customer / audience base to encourage future developments.  The BBC story on the Broadband digital divide is relevant here. Given the high cost of installing cabling networks clearly cities are going to become well served. In america with huge areas relatively sparsely populated there could be serious social divisons based around access opening up - to add to the other ones. Interstingly pysically small but quite dense populations such as Denmark and the Netherlands with a more social democratic committment to service provision to citizens are likely to gain significantly from high speed broadband development. No accident that they are already the countries which are most developed in this respect. 


The Net Effect 

One can only be speculative at this stage and comment on emrgent trends. Currently social networking is new exciting and gobsmacking because people can suddenly publish something and find a global audience, until a very short time ago unimaginable for an individual. Now mainstream media will increasingly be developing environments now the user generated thing is becoming established. what sort of environments people will want isn't yet clear but the current phase of Facebook et al is probaly only temporary. The question is what will the Rupert Murdoch's profits from MySpace advertising be reinvested into: 2nd Life or something similar?  You can bet he is watching the audience data closely!

As for the infamous Facebook, well I buy into Hodgkinson's arguments. I thoroughly dislike the fact that they keep information about you and you can't cleanly unsubscribe. They are also very snotty if you do try and shut down an account. I advise my students to approach it very cautiously. They push  everything thay can to the limit in the search for audience and the corresponding advertising contracts, Beacon and now "Scrabulous" as minor entrepreneurs trade on other brands. 

As for information and data privacy this is a serious breach of human rights and thankfully regulation is catching up!

The investigation follows a complaint by a user of the social network who was unable to fully delete their profile even after terminating their account.


several reasons to join me on Warwick blogs and forget Facebook!


Social Graphs (Up date September 2008)

An advert which appeared next to this page about Social Graphs led me to check out the term. I discovered a useful article on the Facebook hype from the Economist last autumn which explained exactly how social networks such as Facebook didn't in fact add network value, unlike postal and telephone networks. The latter operate under something called Metcalf's Law. The article seems to bear out my scepticism for this phenomenon:


But unlike other networks, social networks lose value once they go beyond a certain size. “The value of a social network is defined not only by who's on it, but by who's excluded,” says Paul Saffo, a Silicon Valley forecaster. Despite their name, therefore, they do not benefit from the network effect. Already, social networks such as “aSmallWorld”, an exclusive site for the rich and famous, are proliferating. Such networks recognise that people want to hobnob with a chosen few, not to be spammed by random friend-requests. (social Gragh-iti, The Economist Oct 17th 2007)

It comes as no surprise that the rich and powerful want exclusive social networks. Virtual reality appears to be mirroring social reality. Well who would have imagined that?


January 05, 2008

Blu–Ray versus HD–DVD: Will Warner make the difference

Blu-ray versus HD-DVD: An eye to the future!

For more recent comment please see X-Box & BT Link

Bluray disc


Introduction 

This format war between two sets of industrial giants one gathered around Sony and the other around Toshiba has been chundering on for over two years. As a result any consumer who remembers as far back as the Betamx - VHS battle which Sony eventually lost,- was a case of better technology being sidestepped by better audience and market development strategies from the VHS people. This was financially very irritating for Betamax buyers myself included. Like lots of other people I've no intention of buying into either Blu-ray or HD-DVD as a single player burner until things are sorted out. The same situation has been rumbling on between SACD and DVD-Audio. As a result people have stuck with CDs.

Perhaps one of the exceptions to this rule of the audience staying away until a universal system is established is the iPod. On the whole the iPod is the 'killer' technology and machine which has gained a firm market dominance. But it can play MP3s which are slightly lower quality than AAC so that's an important issue. The iPod buyer has universal access the Blu-Ray / HD-DVD disc player buyer has not. Apart from the cost nobody wants yet more boxes cluttering up the place. If they leave it any longer faster download speeds will make them both redundant! So let's look at the latest story on this competition. The Financial Times  of the 5th of January thinks that a company the size of Warner Bros which is coming down on the side of Blu-ray might make the difference. 

The FT Story

Warner, one of Hollywood's largest studios and its leading player in home video, had been publishing its new high-definition DVDs in the Blu-ray format and in the rival HD DVD one pioneered by Toshiba.

Blu-Ray.Com (Obviously an entirely unbisaed company) is crowing:  

Warner has announced that they will be switching to support Blu-ray exclusively. Warner has been supporting both formats since they were launched, but recent talk from top executives suggested that Warner couldn't continue down that road much longer, and that the all important holiday sales would help them make a decision. With Blu-ray winning every week in high definition sales this year, Warner has decided that The Future is Blu.

"The window of opportunity for high-definition DVD could be missed if format confusion continues to linger. We believe that exclusively distributing in Blu-ray will further the potential for mass market success and ultimately benefit retailers, producers, and most importantly, consumers," Warner Bros Chairman and Chief Executive Barry Meyer said in a statement.

Bluray player

A Blue-ray player. They do hold a lot more date than HD-DVD so there is a distinct technological advantage here.

The New York Times has also made a more objective account of the situation:

Behind the studio’s decision are industrywide fears about the sagging home entertainment market, which has bruised the movie industry in recent years as piracy, competition from video games and the Internet, and soaring costs have cut into profitability. Analysts predict that domestic DVD sales fell by nearly 3 percent in 2007, partly because of confusion in the market-place over various formats.

They go to point to the Betamax / VHS analogy I drew attention to (well I was a Betamax owner!). This is a core point for any media student studying audiences and institutions within the media at whatever level. Audiences are not stupid. Thay want equipment that is going to be universal. Previously both Sony and Toshiba had big names behind them and both have a good lap-top market. As the NYT points out Toshiba still have support but the pendulum is definitely swinging Sony's way! People want to be able to lend and borrow each others records CDs DVD etc. or buy a new machine without having mountains of the software becoming outdated. With Warner on board, Blu-ray now has about 70 percent of the market locked up; Walt Disney, 20th Century Fox, MGM, Lionsgate and, of course, Sony have all been backing Blu-ray. The Warner announcement comes after a marketing war in the USA in the run up to Xmas:

Consumers were inundated with marketing from both sides during the recent holiday season. Wal-Mart, as part of a temporary promotion, offered Toshiba players for under $100. Sony and its retailing partners, including Best Buy, responded by dropping prices on Blu-ray players, although not to the same level. Blu-ray players can now be purchased for under $300.

Well Toshiba could chuck them into its cheaper laptops to be used as HD-DVD burners that would tempt a lot of buyers and keep them in the game perhaps? Their official response was that they were 'quite surprised' by Warner's decision. Well very disapointed anyway! 

Toshiba HD-DVD

With rumours flying about of large sums being offered to Hollywood studios this sounds as though it has been a pretty dirty game. I'm wondering who has got the Chinese and Indian markets tied up though. Increasingly the game is being played ona global basis, both have large cinema audiences and film fans. somehow I don't think the fat lady is going to sing yet.

Mind you I'm biased we've got 2 Toshiba laptops in the house then the Telly is Sony that's consumerism for you.  I don't suppose any of the films I like will come out in either of these formats at an afordable price anyway. Perhaps the real story of the moment regarding technology which is really going to move the world on or not in this case is the fact that Intel seems to be messing up the One Laptop Per Child Campaign! Occasionally its good to keep things in perspective. With most people in the world not having a telephone let alone a computer what is Intel up to? Will there be a FairTrade computer chips campaign from AMD? 

Let's defeat the digital divide: after all "we have the technology" !! 

Webliography

Globe and Mail Article 05/01/08

New York Times 05/01/08  



January 04, 2008

Kinoeye Reference Hub

Kinoeye Reference Hub Page

Introduction


As the Kinoeye film and media blog develops a range of reference pages are being made available. You may wish to bookmark this page to be able to quickly refer to what is currently available at any time.  


Reference pages will include: bibliographies glossaries, chronologies, convenient list of directors, actors etc.  



Reference Pages 

Bibliographies

British Cinema Bibliography

French Cinema Bibliography 

Italian Cinema Bibliography and Webliography

Repetition or Revelation: Film Genre and Society. 2003 (Bibliography)

Weimar and Nazi  Cinema Bibliography


Chronologies 

A Chronology of Important European Films  1918 - 2003


Directors

Directors in Contemporary British Cinema

Directors in Italian Cinema

Weimar Directors Hub Page  


National Cinema Hub Pages

British Cinema


European Film Institutions


Glossaries

Glossary of Documentary Film Terms

European Cinema and Media Glossary A-E

European Cinema and Media Glossary  Ed-Mo

Media and Film Studies Glossary N-Z

Glossary of New Media Technologies (A-N)

Glossary of New Media Technologies (O-Z)


In depth individual explanations of terms 


Globalisation  




Glossary of Documentary Film Terms

Glossary of Documentary Film Terms

From the Kinoeye Reference Section


Aleatory techniques. Aleatory technique is when the element of chance is incorporated into the film making process. Action and sound may not have been planned or scripted. The British film maker Humphrey Jennings was renowned for this.  Even in fiction films this technique has been used. Jean-Luc Godard used improvisational interview techniques with his actors which questioned the distinction between acting and being and also the division between documentary and fiction.

Cinema Verite. A type of observational film which uses available light, fast film stock, handheld lightweight cameras, portable sound recording and a minimum of other equipment to record profilmic events. Aleatory techniques are very important to this style. The style became widely known after being introduced by the anthropologist / filmmaker Jean Rouch and sociologist Jean Morin in Chronicle of a Summer (1961). Rouch saw the camera as a participant in the unfolding of events which makes cinema verite quite different in approach to Direct Cinema. Rouch believed that the camera functioned as a psychological stimulant which although it altered behaviour in front of the camera arguably revealed deeper underlying truths about personalities. Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera (1929) can be understood as a precursor of this approach. The camera did boast of its own presence and influence upon the profilmic events. The Sorrow and the Pity (1970) by Marcel Ophuls can be seen as another example.

cover_of_man_with_a_movie_camera.jpg


City Symphony film. This developed as a sub-genre of documentary film. They are often abstract films loosely structured around the theme of the day in the life of a city. The use of montage provides a sense of rhythm and movement. Rien que les heures (1926) Alberto Cavalcanti was shot on the streets of Paris. It was the first of the ‘City Symphony’ films made in Europe during the 1920s and preceded the better know Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927) by Ruttman. It was very influential amongst the documentary movement at the time. Man With a Movie Camera: Dziga Vertov (1929) is far more than just an impressionistic view of the city. The film is an optimistic perspective on the importance of industrialisation and modernisation. Vertov also brings in a strong element of reflexivity in which the film is shown as being made as well as showing the audience and the place of exhibition.

Crown Film Unit. In August 1940 the GPO Film Unit was remaned the Crown film Unit directly under the Ministry of information thus becoming a directly propaganda organisation. Many of the films were made by Humphrey Jennings as well as Watt and Jackson. After the war documentaries were stil made but the energy, belief by government and and social consciousness had dissipated. The Unit was closed in 1951.

Direct Cinema. A type of observational documentary practice which developed in the USA during the 1960s. Profilmic events were recorded as they happened without rehearsal or reconstruction. Unlike cinema verite the practivce sought to be as unobtrusive as possible giving rise to the term ‘Fly on the wall’ coined by the film-maker Richard Leacock. Stylistically they feature long takes and minimal editing and try to keep a chronological structure to preserve profilmic events as effectively as possible. Subjects are allowed to speak for themselves and the camera observes ho0ping to record a privileged moment which will display the truth of the person behind the words.

Documentary. The term was invented by John Grierson when reviewing of Flaherty’s Moanna (1926). Any film practice that has as its subject persons events or situations that exist outside the film in the real world also referred to as non-fiction film. The first films ever shown to the public were documentaries exhibited by the Lumiere Brothers in 1895. They were very popular for some some with travelogues being especially popular. As editing techniques developed fictional narrative films gradually eclipsed documentaries. Documentary then survived inside the institution of cinema as newsreels. Pathe News began these in 1910 and soon other major companies began making them. Nanook of the North: Robert Flaherty (1922) was the first ever full length feature documentary. It demonstrated that fictional techniques could be used in a documentary.

Nanook of the North DVD Cover


Few full length documentaries have ever been made. Woodstock : Michael Wadleigh (1970) was one that managed to be distributed in mainstream cinemas. Documentaries differ from fiction because they refer to the historical real. The documentary theorist Bill Nichols describes the pleasure derived from watching documentary as ‘epistephilia’ or knowing about the real world. Fiction film cannot substitute for the hooror of an on-screen assassination or the explosion of the space shuttle challenger or the planes flying into the world trade centre. There is no need to suspend disbelief. Initially for many the fact that real events were caught on camera meant that documentaries were somehow unbiased. Nowadays it is widely accepted that documentaries are biased, as a result those seeking more objectivity take more concern with how the subjects of the documentary represent themselves. Blandford, Grant and Hillier (2001) argue that documentary isn’t a genre citing Nichols who comments that:

Documentary as a concept or practice occupies no fixed territory. It mobilises no finite inventory of techniques, adresses no completly known taxonomy of forms, styles, or modes’.

Nevertheless on the arguments that Neale uses to describe 'Art Cinema' as a 'genre' by virtue of its exhibitionary and distribution target audience, documentary with all the sub-generic forms has a more powerful case to be described as a genre. Interestingly Bill Nichols himself has included two articles on documentary including one by himself under 'Genre Criticism' in his seminal Movies and Methods Vol 2 (1985).


Empire Marketing Board (Film Unit). Existed to market the British Empire. John grierson headed the film unit between 1928 - 1933 when the whole board was wound up. It produced nearly 100 short films including The Drifters (1929) by Grierson himself and also Industrial Britain 1932) by Robert Flaherty. The Public Relations head Tallents went to the GPO and took Grierson and the film unit with him.


Ethnographic Film. Anthropological documentary that seeks to present and describe other cultures with a minimum of interpretation and ideological distortion. The first feature film usually considered as a foundational ethnographic film was Nanook of the North: Robert Flaherty (1922). However it romanticised the Inuit people. This type of approach to documentary film making can often be seen as condescending by representing indigenous people as ‘exotic others’.

Fast Film Stock. This describes how sensitive the emulsion is to light. Fast film stock is more sensitive to light and is rated at 400 ASA and above. Slower film stock can start as low as 50 ASA. Fast film was very useful in low light conditions and shooting could take place without artificial lighting. The disadvantage of this was that the film would look grainy compared to slower speed films.

Free Cinema Movement. This was a short lived movement in the late 1950s in Britain which tried to develop a different approvoach to documentary cinema. It had a powerful effect upon the British New Wave feature films which emereged soon afterwards. It was founded by Lindsay Anderson, Karel Reisz and Tony Richardson. The term was used to designate a number of documentary films they made during the 1950s. The ideals held in common were that documentary films should be made free of all commercial pressures. That they should be inflected with a humanistic and poetic approach. This gave the work of Humphrey Jennings over that of John Grierson. Both anderson and Reisz were critics for the film magazine Sequence . The magazine criticisd British documentary for being conformist and feature filmmaking for its lack of aesthetic innovation. They also criticised the monopoly practices of British cinema. They also criticised the predominant genres of war films -which seemed to glorify war and avoid the horrors - and weak comedies. Their own shorts were largely self-funded although some grant money from the BFI was forthcoming. Ford UK was also a significant source of funding. Ford commissioned a series of documentaries ‘Look at Britain’. Free Cinema was responsible for Every Day Except Christmas : Anderson (1957) and Karel Reisz’s We Are the Lambeth Boys (1959). These filmmakers believed in representing working class culture as it was lived. The editing was very rhythmic dliberately connoting Jazz which had become an important part of working class subculture. Stylistically these 3 directors were smilar and 4 out of the 6 films they made had Walter Lasally as the cinematographer. The directors they were influenced by included John Ford, Marcel Carne, Jean Cocteau, Jean Gremillon, Humprey Jennings, Jean Renoir, Vittorio de Sica and Jean Vigo.

GPO Film Unit. This started under Grierson in 1933 after the Empire Marketing Board was wound up. It became the main institution to be associated with documentary film in the 1930s. It had a wide brief only some being linked directly to the Post Office. The films were heavily influenced by montage alongside a committment to representing ordinary people. It was propagandist in so far as it existed to serve the needs and purposes of the state. After Cavalcanti joined the unit there was also experiment with sound montage. Tensions arose between exponents of developing new forms and those who emphasised a more straightforward aproach. Later 1930s films tend to be less experimental than the earlier ones. There was also the development of drama documentaries. Many of the Unit’s conceptions were based around a similar public service principle to the BBC. In 1937 Cavalcanti took over the unit. In 1940 the unit was renamed the Crown Film Unit under the Ministry of Information.

Handheld Camera. Rather than using a tripod, dolly or crane the camera operator had far more flexibility and mobility. Images produced handheld weren't stable before the development of the steadicam. This created a certain look and feel usually associated with cinema verite and Direct Cinema both of which sought to follow profilmic events as they happened.




Woman with Steadicam System

This Steadicam system allows film makers to significantly reduce the unstable feeling of handheld cinematography. Handheld photography can now be used as an artistic device to impart a feeling of reality for the viewer. A good example of this is the sequence in Saving Private Ryan where the American troops are pinned down on the beach by Nazi gunfire as they launch the invasion of France.









Observational Cinema. This is a type of cinema in which the camera follows the profilmic events as they happen intending to reveal truths about these events. Ethnographic film, cinema Verite and Direct Cinema are all types of observational cinema. The question of whether and how much the film exploits, manipulates or documents the social actors are central. The films are seen as relatively truthful as they aren’t constrained by the technological limitations of older equipment which required dramatic reconstruction and a voice of god narrator.

Portable Sound Recording. Sound recording of location sound remained a problem until the 1950s when the break through in electronics which saw the development of the transistor meant that locational synchronised sound and filming was possible. This encoured styles such as cinema verite and Direct Cinema. The Swiss Nagra sound recorder was very popular with the French New Wave.

Profilmic Event. This is a theoretical term for the reality in front of the camera which is photographed. In observational documentary such as Direct Cinema / Ethnographic Cinema / Cinema Verite film makers aim to preserve the spatial and temporal integrity of these events (what is filmed) as much as possible

Voice of God Narration. The term has developed to describe the use of voice-over in documentary films. It is often used to describe the voice-over style used in Grierson produced documentaries. The voice is usually male, disembodied and omniscient. This style has been rejected by documentary makers in recent times as it is considered as being patriarchal, ethnocentric and manipulative. Personal voice-over is often used as in Roger and Me (Michael Moore, 1989)




Other Kinoeye glossaries include:


European Cinema and Media Glossary A-E

European Cinema and Media Glossary  Ed-Mo




Glossary of New Media Technologies (A-N)

Glossary of New Media Technologies (O-Z)





January 03, 2008

Joe Wright

British Directors: Joe Wright (1972-)

Joe Wright

VISIT THE BRITISH DIRECTORS HUB PAGE

Introduction

Joe Wright in a short career has proved to be highly successful director of heritage style costume dramas based upon literary adaptations. Atonement (2007) opened the 64th Venice Film Festival making Wright the youngest director ever to have had a film opening this festival.  

Wright was trained at St. Martins art school in London now Central St. Martins University of the Arts London.  He has been identified as dyslexic and left school with no qualifications. His dyslexia was comensated for by an excellent ability within the field of visual communications and the strength of his painting and film making skills exceptionally won him a place in the prestigious St Martins to study fine art and film He won recognition making a short film for the BBC and directed the highly successful historical drama series Charles II: The Power and The Passion for the BBC which won the 2004 BAFTA TV award, Best Drama Serial. This helped him to get film contracts for the historical / heritage / costume drama genre films Atonement and Pride and Prejudice.

Film Availability:

Pride and Pedjudice DVD cover

The Charles II TV Series is also available:

Charles II The Power and The Passion DVD cover

Filmography (Feature Films)

2007: Atonement

2005: Pride and Prejudice

Webliography 

Guardian interview with Joe Wright on Pride and Predjudice

Guardian video interview Joe Wright on Atonement

Independent article on Wright and Atonement summer 2007

VISIT THE BRITISH DIRECTORS HUB PAGE 


January 02, 2008

Edgar Wright

British Directors: Edgar Wright (1974-)

VISIT THE BRITISH DIRECTORS HUB PAGE

Hot Fuzz 4


Introduction

Edgar Wright did a lot of his early work in TV as so many up coming film directors have done in the past.  spaced was a successful sitcom which went into two series runnig between 1999 - 2001 and significantly helped Wright to establish a reputation. His first work after studying film at Bournemouth was low budget comedy and he has worked in the comedy idiom ever since. Wright has done a lot of work with Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson and the success of Spaced allowed them to launch Shaun of the Dead a comedy-horror. The success of this film with a moderate budget allowed them to make Hot Fuzz. Wright also spent some time working with more established comedy acts in the BBC namely Alexei Sayle and Dawn French. 




Shaun of the Dead 1

Romero eat your heart out - or maybe they will. Shaun of the Dead marked the return of the comedy-horror hybrid genre. 





Webliography 

BBC film Network Wright interview. Includes extract of Hot Fuzz

Screenonline Biography of Edgar Wright

Screenonline Spaced analysis

BFI full list of Film and TV Credits for Edgar Wright  

BBC Q & A page with Wright and Pegg

Guardian NFT interview with Pegg and Wright  

BBC Review of Shaun of the Dead

Working Title Shaun of the Dead with trailer available 


RETURN TO BRITISH DIRECTORS HUB PAGE 



Stephen Frears

British Directors: Stephen Frears (1941-)

VISIT THE BRITISH DIRECTORS HUB PAGE 


Introduction

Stephen Frears has had a fine film making career making many notable British films some of which have had a controversial edge live My Beautiful Laundrette and Sammie and Rosie Get Laid. With these films and with Dirty Pretty Things Frears has shown he can make films with his finger on the pulse of social change.  His most successful recent film was The Queen which won many accolades. A fuller evaluation will appear in due course however there are a good range of web links established to aid research. 


Filmography

2006: The Queen

2005: Mrs Henderson Presents

2002: Dirty Pretty Things

2000: High Fidelity; Liam

1998: The Hi-Lo Country

1996 The Van

1995: Mary Reilly

1993: The Snapper

1992: Accidental Hero

1990: The Grifters

1989: Dangerous Liaisons

1987: Prick Up Your Ears

1987: Sammy and Rosie Get Laid

1985: My Beautiful Laundrette

1984: The Hit

1979: Bloody Kids

1971: Gumshoe


Film availability 

dirty_pretty_things_dvd_cover.jpg    the_queen_dvd_cover.jpg Mrs Henderson Presents DVD cover Liam DVD Cover



Webliography 

Screenonline Biography.(Excellent range of other links to specific films here) 

Guardian Interview Stephen Frears

BBC Interview on Dirty Pretty Things

Daily Telegraph. Film Makers on film: Stephen Frears

BBC Film Network  page on The Queen. Clip and trailer available here. 

BFI Governors page on Frears 

Guardian on Frears as Chairperson of the Cannes Jury 2007 

David Thompson in the Independent 2nd Jan 2008 on Stephen Frears

Britfim Frears heads Cannes Jury

Guardian interview of Frears 2004 (who reveals that he watches Big Brother) 

Skillset Frears takes part in mentoring scheme


RETURN TO BRITISH DIRECTORS HUB PAGE 





British Directors: Mike Hodges

British Directors: Mike Hodges (1932 -  )

( BRITISH DIRECTORS HUB PAGE) 

Introduction

Mike Hodges is still known for his 'gangster heavy' film Get Carter which seems to get number one in the 'Lad's Mags' lists for the 'well 'ard'. In fact it was an insightful view of relationships between British Gangland and various local businesses and of course the police. In terms of representations of Newcastle and the North East at the time the corruption of the Poulson affair.

The film was a continuation of the representation of British Gangland from Brighton Rock through The Long Good Friday which also dealt with corruption and was prescient about developments in the London docklands. Hodges has contributed another gangster heavy film in recent years I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

For more on the theme of British Crime Films please follow this link.  

A fuller evaluation of Mike Hodges work will follow however there are some useful links here to help with your research.  

Fimography

1970 Get Carter
1972 Pulp
1974 Terminal Man
1979 Flash Gordon
1985 Morons from Outer Space
1987 A Prayer for the Dying
1990 Black Rainbow
1998 Croupier
2001 Murder By Numbers
2003 I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
2004 Murder by Numbers

Films Available:

Get Carter DVD Cover Croupier DVD Cover I

Webliography 

Screenonline Biography of Mike Hodges 

Guardian interview with Mike Hodges

NFT Interview with Mike Hodges

Sight and Sound Review of I'll Sleep when I'm Dead

BBC Radio 3 series of interviews with Mike Hodges about work in progress on I'll sleep When I'm Dead

BBC Interview with Mike Hodges on Croupier

Culture Wars Review of I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

RETURN TO BRITISH DIRECTORS HUB PAGE 


Elizabeth the Golden Age, 2007 . Dir Shekhar Kapur

Elizabeth the Golden Age, 2007 . Dir Shekhar Kapur

Elizabeth the Golden Age 1



Introduction

I was very impressed with Kapur's first rendering of the early part of Elizabeth's life and it will be interesting to see how this history film stands up to its predecessor. It is improtant to differentiate the genre of history film from that of costume drama as a genre. The latter are usually stories set in a specific historical period but which often have no historical grounding in the facts. By comparison the history film is about specific people and events which are accepted as facts although interpretations of these facts will of course differ.  It is also important to note the creation by critics of the notion of the 'heritage film' which suggested that countries undergoing some sort of crisis perhaps of identity often recourse to a golden past which is something of a mythical one (See also Heritage Cinema in France). There is an abundance of films about the Tudor period and Elizabeth 1st whilst there is a paucity of films about large tracts of other parts of British history. There will be a comparison of this film with the earlier versio of Elizabeth in due course. 

Shekhar Kapur's previous version was very succesful in financial terms by the standards of British films. Kepur was a controversial choice the last time after his film Bandit Queen was banned in India. It was a fine film and Film Four backed the original project. I'm looking forward to seeing this one in any case.

Elizabeth the Golden Age 2

Film availability: 

Not currently available as a DVD in the UK. Still in cinemas.  

Webliography

Historian Alison Weir on Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Radio One interviews with Shekhar Kapur and others.

Guardian Blog for Elizabeth the Golden Age. A nice quality viewing extract available here.

Guardian Review of Elizabeth the Golden Age

Long live the queen. Guardian feature on clothing design and the representations of queens in film

Observer  review of Elizabeth the Golden Age

Official marketing site for Elizabeth the Golden Age

Working Title: Producers of Elizabeth the Golden Age

Kinoeye History of Working Title

About.com interview with Kapur 

Wikipedia on Elizabeth the Golden Age



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January 01, 2008

British Directors: Paul Andrew Williams

British Directors: Paul Andrew Williams

Go to London to Brighton (2006)

paul_andrew_williams.jpg

Director Paul Andrew Williams

Brief Overview

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. 

Awards 

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”

Filmography 

london to Brighton Kitchen

London to Brighton. Pimp Derek orders Kelly to get him a girl for a client 

London to Brighton (2006)

The cottage 1

The Cottage 2008 '...an anarchic, gory horror-comedy'

The Cottage (2008)

Webliography 

Sight and Sound London to Brighton Review

BBC  Film Network. Includes video extract.

Shooting People Blog: Interview with Paul Williams

Kingston University: Paul Williams becomes a visiting professor

Guardian Interview with Williams on bad critical reception of The Cottage

Guardian Review of The Cottage

Film Availability: 

A DVD is currently available 

London to Brighton DVD Cover

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