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British Cinema - How British is British Film?

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Kirsty Worrow

on 1 October 2014

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Transcript of British Cinema - How British is British Film?

AS Film Studies
The Contemporary British Film Industry: Context and Debates

Aims of this session...
Define ‘British film’;
Identify problems facing the British film Industry both in production and at the British and international box office;
Evaluate the ‘Britishness’ of British film products.
How many British films can you think of in one minute?
For a further minute, share your ideas with a partner.

Deciding what constitutes a 'British' film is problematic.
Consider the following possibilities:
Defining British Film
Made in Britain using British talent, creatives and technicians?
This is England (Meadows, 2006)
28 Days Later (Boyle, 2002)
Enduring Love (Mitchell, 2004)
The Harry Potter films (2001-2011)
Made outside the UK using British talent, creatives and technicians?
The Descent (Marshall, 2005)
Solomon Kane (Bassett, 2009)
Funded by British sources (UK Film Council [BFI], Film4, BBC Films, etc.) that make money for the British film industry?
Looking for Eric (Loach, 2009)
The King's Speech (Hooper, 2010)
Films made by British Production Companies aimed primarily at a British audience?
Ratcatcher (Ramsey, 1999)
Sweet Sixteen(Loach, 2002)
Hunger (McQueen, 2008)
Films made by British Production Companies aimed at an international audience?
The Boat that Rocked (Curtis, 2009)
Burn After Reading (Coen, 2008),
Shaun of the Dead (Wright, 2004)
The nationality of any film is actually determined by the source of the funding.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 - UK/US
The Descent - UK
Deathwatch UK/Germany
Hunger UK/Ireland
Casino Royale (UK/Czech Rep/US/Germany/Bahamas)
Smoking Aces (UK/France/US)
What's the Answer?
In pairs, discuss what genres of British films are successful internationally.
What We Do Well...
Heritage Films
Horror Films
A good horror film doesn't rely on a big Hollywood budget.
As a low budget genre, horror is favoured by our filmmakers who struggle to get domestic funding.
The financial constraints often mean directors and producers have to be more inventive.
The result - British horror has a reputation for being innovative and scarier than US horror.
Dog Soldiers (Marshall, 2002)
28 Days Later (Boyle, 2002)
Crime Films
Romantic Comedies
Films that are based on British source material?
Harry Potter
James Bond
Bridget Jones
British literary adaptations; Pride & Prejudice, Jane Eyre, etc.
Often known as 'period dramas', these films draw on Britain's history and include literary adaptations.
Focus on British landscapes and traditional class system.
Atonement (Wright, 2007)
Elizabeth (Kapur, 1998)
The King's Speech (Hooper, 2010)
The Iron Lady (Lloyd, 2011)
Vanity Fair (Nair, 2004)
These films are almost the antithesis of Heritage Films.
Crime cinema tends to focus on the working or under class and emphasises the regional. Again, the budgets are often low and this promotes innovation.
Since the 1970's British Crime films have gained a reputation for being stylish and violent.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (Ritchie, 1998)
Layer Cake (Vaughn, 2004)
Get Carter (Hodges, 1971)
The Long Good Friday (MacKenzie, 1980)
Performance (Roeg, 1970)
Gangster No. 1 (McGuigan, 2000)
Focusing on characters in the upper-middle class, these films idealise and romanticise contemporary Britain.
Often referred to as 'Brit-Com', our rom-com output grew in popularity in the 1990s.
The British rom-com is usually set in London and the home counties and typically contrasts the iconic and cosmopolitan city with traditional and 'quaint' rural landscapes and communities.
The British founded production company, Working Title, and writer Richard Curtis have been responsible for many of the most notable examples.
Four Weddings and a Funeral (Newell, 1994),
Notting Hill (Michell, 1999)
Bridget Jones's Diary (Maguire, 2001)
Love Actually (Curtis, 2003)
Tamara Drewe (Frears, 2010)
The BFI Box Office Report 2011
Cinema admissions in 2011 – 171.6 million
The third highest performing year in the last decade, 1.4% increase on 2010.
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