To understand a brief history of Black/ Asian Cinema and issues relating to film makers
Anglo-Asian Cinema Films which examine the position of Asian communities in Britain. Often focusing on complex experiences of 2nd generation British Asians growing up with both cultures.
Black cinema? Conventionally discussed as part of Black Cinema Challenging traditional non-white representations The industry considers them outside mainstream. (Hollywood & “white” British) Whilst British Asian cinema have grown in popularity, opportunities for Black (African-Caribbean communities) film-makers have declined.
Black British Cinema Specifically refers to a group of films produced in the late 80/90s. Government funded due to civil disturbances in 70s/80s – black artists had been excluded from mainstream cultural practices (fine art, film) In 1982 Channel 4 is launched to address “minority” groups – co funded many black feature films. Challenged representations and film language Handsworth Songs – uses archive film, still images, news reports and sounds, original footage too. No narrator.
Black British Cinema Today “The 1990s have seen the emergence of a completely new cultural and political agenda in Britain, which has temporarily halted any new interventions in the area if black representation. This does not bode well for the immediate future.” J Pines (1997) “Although there is a renaissance in British cinema, backed by millions of pounds in lottery money, that Britain is being disseminated on the screen and around the world steeped in heritage, literary culture and conventional ideas of class relations. It is also overwhelmingly white, in sharp contrast to our workplaces, high streets and bedroms, which tell a very different story… it is a narrow and nostalgic view of Britain which is represented.” K Alexander (2000)
A Debate Are British Asian films part of, or outside, national cinema? What is the relationship of British Asian to Black cinema? How do the opportunities for production, distribution and exhibition of BA films affect the nature of those films?
British Asian Cinema How British-Asian identity is constructed through the demands of conforming to or rejecting Western and Asian Cultures. Social and Cultural practices: Religion “Arranged marriage” Generational conflict Gender expectations Sexuality racism POV from 2nd or 3rd generation characters – children of parents who came to britain in 60/70s
Discussion What effect does it have when the younger generation is central to the story? How would stories be affected if more films were from the point of view of first-generation immigrants. Reasons for the focus on 2nd and 3rd gen immigrants. Who are the filmmakers and the audience? What problems are there in raising money?
Bollywood-influenced British films Bollywood Queen and The Guru evidence the fashion for Bollywood and the importance of young British Asian consumers. Mainstream films which include aspects of Bollywood style and Indian culture – fashion & music. Summer 2002 was dubbed “Indian Summer” due to success of these films, the opening of Bombay Dreams, screening of Indian films on Channel4 and Selfridges “Bollywood” make-over. Further Influences: Channel 4 also borrowed from Bollywood - “Bollywood star”. BBC1 uses Indian dancers.
Indian Screens Increased popularity in Bollywood films. London, Leicester and Birmingham Star City, a purpose built cinema complex, restaurants, bars & megabowl opened in Birmingham in 2000. 4 of the 21 screens are dedicated to Bollywood films.
Rethinking National Cinema “It is difficult to define cultural diversity and cultural specificity in solely national terms, it is more helpful to consider “local” or “transnational” contexts.” (Higson, 2000) Regional locations Yorkshire, Birmingham, Blackpool and outer London. Countries of Origin of Asian Characters are a huge influence: Symbol/more authentic and spiritual way of life Older generation are fearful of losing Tradition and restriction for the younger characters. Creates comic opportunities – cultural differences.
Rethinking National Cinema Traditionally British films were the concept of heritage films, costume dramas and literacy adaptations. A paradox is inherent in the concept of national cinema A common identity and continuity, or an understanding of what a particular nation is and represents. It is different from other national cinemas
Task Read Articles and answer the following questions: What does GurinderChadha argue is the major difference between British and American audiences? How does the marketing of a film reflect the differences in British and American audiences? Do the actors and producers interviewed in Chrisafis and Mace’s article agree with Chadha’s view of the British and American industry? Looking at your results from the previous section, which article do you think reflects the most accurate picture of the British film industry?
Learning Objective To explore the success of Bend it like Beckham and understand its significance as part of British Asian Cinema