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Screeningthebrits

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This is adapted from robertclackmedia

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Screeningthebrits

  1. 1. But…. WHAT IS ABRITISH FILM?
  2. 2.  Diversity makes a defining a ‘British’ film very challenging. Some UK Film Council definitions: ◦ Films principally shot in the UK, using a British crew/cast ◦ Film’s financed from within the UK ◦ Film’s that are set in the UK ◦ Film’s that address British Identity and Society
  3. 3.  Range of definitions – 32 in total, but to qualify as a British film only 16 must be met. One is that the film represents/reflects a diverse British culture, British heritage or British creativity (so we don’t just make lots of imitations of American films)
  4. 4. Yes:- Director – Paul Greengrass is British Large section is filmed in London, some studio work at Pinewood Largely British crew No:- Doesn’t reflect British themes or concerns Lots of other locations Produced by Universal – Frank Marshall and Doug Liman are American Universal are American owned company
  5. 5.  If we can’t define, we can recognise traits and conventions of specific trends and cycles: enough to be genres?
  6. 6. • Costume dramas: A Room with a View• Historical Epics: Pride and Prejudice• Literary Adaptation: Remains of the Day Merchant-Ivory – winning brand of Heritage cinema created by producer-director team. Normally a period piece, set in Edwardian England featuring lavish sets and genteel characters.
  7. 7.  ‘Kitchen sink’ stage/TV dramas of 1960s Ken Loach: Kes, Raining Stones, Sweet Sixteen Mike Leigh: Abigail’s Party, Naked, Meantime Social issues explored in complex fashion but often shocking and depressing.
  8. 8.  First funded by television – especially Channel 4 in 80s Nick Broomfield: His Big White Self, Biggie and Tupac, Tracking Down Maggie Nature documentary sold around the world – often turned into theatrical release. E.g. Deep Blue (cinema version of The Blue Planet) and Earth (cinema version of Planet Earth)
  9. 9.  Specialeffects industry developed with Stanley Kubrick for 2001: A Space Odyssey Lotsof Sci-Fi filmed at Pinewood and Shepperton studios: from Alien to Harry Potter
  10. 10.  Hammer studios was a British production company that led the world in horror during the 50s and 60s (although this was partly through distribution deals with US owned studios such as Warner Brothers). Managed to have significant impact on world market – famous for a certain style of Horror that low budgets, but nonetheless appeared lavish, making use of quality British actors and cleverly designed sets.
  11. 11.  First produced by Working Title films Four Weddings and a Funeral – grossed £240 million worldwide Sliding Doors, Notting Hill, Love Actually, Bridget Jone’s Diary.
  12. 12.  Fame of British pop music established UK as leader in youth culture Films capitalised on this: Quadraphenia (Mods), Performance (Hippies), Human Traffic (Ravers), This is England (Skinheads) and Control (Indie). Popular globally because Mods, Hippies, Ravers, Skinheads from any country will want to watch their own ‘subculture’. Youthful ennui and sense of rebellion is universal
  13. 13.  Crime cinema has always been popular – Hell is a City, Blue Lantern Films like Get Carter were able to be more downbeat and violent than American films Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels started a new trend in 90s for fast-talking cockney gangster films: Snatch, Essex Boys, Gangster No1, Layer Cake
  14. 14. How are images ofthe ‘British’ used tomarket films?
  15. 15.  ‘Heritage’ cinema Literary adaptations ‘Urban Fairytale’ UK Film used to reinforce patriotism (for domestic audience) UK Film used as tourist marketing strategy (for foreign audiences)
  16. 16.  Conforms to US market’s stereotype of the British – ‘Anglophilia’. Like cinematic tourism. Reinforces nostalgic vision of Britain and British values to domestic audience ‘Escapist’/positive representation of modern Britain ‘Literary’ status – treated as ‘prestige’ films (for an ‘intelligent’ audience); book franchises (Becoming Jane, The Jane Austen Book Club, Clueless – Austen as a genre)
  17. 17.  Stereotypes of Britishness: polite, reserved, aristocratic, chirpy cockney, honourable etc. Concentration on upper middle class lifestyles Nostalgic, romanticised vision of the past Literary associations (adaptation, biography) ‘Heritage’ cinema – visual pleasure of sumptuous costume and set design ‘Urban fairytale’ elements – romantic comedies, sanitised images of Britain, mostly white middle class characters, strong women supported by close-knit friends
  18. 18. ‘Gritty Realism’
  19. 19.  Opposite of Heritage cinema – critical of British life, not reinforcing patriotic values (Trainspotting: “It’s shite being Scottish!” Challenging to audience’s comfort zones: unflinching portrait of harsh reality of modern Britain Often shocking examination of dark side of human behaviour; explicit sex, violence, drugs. Deals with social problems (drugs, poverty, violence, child abuse) explicitly but with complexity Often focuses on working or ‘underclass’ characters
  20. 20.  Rival to ‘saccharine’ sentimentality of Hollywood films – more daring and shocking. Liberal art-house audience who like cinema to challenge their preconceptions and comfort zones. Makes middle class audiences feel secure by contrasting characters lives. Critical success – ‘serious’ film for more ‘intelligent’ audiences.
  21. 21.  Claire Monk’s phrase for historical dramas that don’t just ‘display’ the past, but ‘interrogates’ the past and our relationship to it. Questions how the past is represented. Explores contemporary themes in historical setting.
  22. 22.  Still lots of authentic period mise-en- scene Often beautifully lit and shot Well received by fans of historical films But doesn’t shy away from ‘historical realism’ and the harsh realities of the past – not romanticised. So enjoyed by more ‘serious’ audiences.
  23. 23.  Elizabeth Atonement This is England
  24. 24. Case This isStudy: England (Shane Meadows, 2007)
  25. 25.  Born in 1972 and lived most of his life in the Midlands – the setting of all of his films. His first proper feature-length film is Twenty Four Seven (1997) and like many of his films this was largely autobiographical and focussed on incidents from his past. His most recent films, This is England (2006) and Somers Town (2008) have seen his profile as a director grow and grow.
  26. 26.  Tends to make films that have similar themes (effects of violence, revenge) or characters (loners, impressionable-yet-strong boys) that reflect his own upbringing. Similar setting – in and around the Midlands area. DIY approach to filmmaking – little or no formal training. Encourages actors to ad lib in order to create the impression of real people and thus create a better sense of reality. Tends to work with similar actors (Paddy Considine, Thomas Turgoose) and screenwriters (Paul Fraser).
  27. 27.  Originated in the late 1960’s, came from mods who were welcomed into the reggae clubs in London. Here they discovered ska music and the key components of the skinhead look. The skinhead culture was taken up by black and white working class kids working in shipyards and factory lines.
  28. 28.  Second wave of skinheads fused ska music, like Madness and The Specials, with a new punk genre, called ‘OI!’ music - romperstomper, energetic music, charged for fighting. In the 80s teens from areas of high unemployment looking for solidarity, who were ignored by Thatcher’s ‘me’ culture, were especially vulnerable to the advances of the National Front.
  29. 29.  ‘The skinhead, because of their aggression and outward appearance, they’re almost soldier-like, were I suppose almost handpicked to become soldiers for the National Front. You don’t see the contradiction that you’re being indoctrinated into the National Front whilst listening to black music. When I first heard about the National Front, the picture that was painted to me was a Churchillian vision of Asian families rowing into the white cliffs of Dover on boats, and that skinheads would be on the beaches fighting to stop them entering your country. As a twelve-year-old kid that’s quite a romantic image. It’s almost like ‘what your granddad did.’ ‘When you’re twelve and no-one in your town can get a job, and someone comes up to you and says ‘these people are to blame’ it’s easy to believe. I did for about three weeks, some people still believe that as adults and that’s frightening.’
  30. 30.  ‘It’s not to do with colour so much, it’s to do with identity and belonging.’ - Shane Meadows
  31. 31.  Watch the clip. How is ‘England’ being defined? How is ‘Britishness’?
  32. 32.  How do the connotations of the flag change for Shaun? What does this flag mean to you? Having looked at the film do you think these associations have changed over time? Does the flag have specific group association now? Is the flag something to which you feel any kind of allegiance? Where do these ideas/feelings come from?
  33. 33. QuestionWhy do you think we see amontage of the Falklands war atthe end of the film, just afterMilky has been nearly beaten todeath?
  34. 34.  How is British national identity defined? How is it problematised? Is this an accurate portrayal of British life? Is it nostalgic? For a ‘historical’ film, how is it relevant to today’s audiences? How does it differ from other British films? How ‘British’ is it?

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