Perspectives on Pop Culture and the Arts

Sunday, February 26, 2006

A Man Called Dave

How do,

Thought I'd make my first proper posting a rant against the British Film industry. We just had our awards, the BAFTA's, and I was, quite frankly, shocked. Admittedly, BAFTA's tastes are not mine, but it has become - no offence- little more than a mid-atlantic love-in with Hollywood studios.

Normally, I'm a mild-mannered sort of chap, and rarely take offence or actively hate anything. If I have to do someone else's dishes, I won't complain. If I'm kept waiting half an hour at the dentist's, well, I might try and look at him in an angry way, but it's hard to do this when you've trusted him to look after yer teef. But when I saw David Puttnam (Lord Puttnam to you and me, guv) pick up his lifetime award, and then say he gave up films 8 years ago because 'the type of message films I wanted to make could no longer be made in Britain' my pipe damn near fell out of me mouth. Where has the Puttster (responsible for The Killing Fields, Chariots of Fire, The Mission and that great message film Memphis Belle) been?

Has he not heard of Shooting People's Best Vs Best DVD? Did he not see Dead Man's Shoes? Does he not know about Pawel Paweikowski, genius BBC documentarian turned genius filmaker? This is an age old problem, and one that you guys are no doubt grappling with. I could list many more organisations and films for Puttnam to see, but chances are he would have never heard of them - because they ain't really studio films, they're independents. Yes, that age-old worldwide chesnut: indie's are often better, but they ain't getting seen or distributed -or if they are, they are not then duly recognised and awarded, or even defined as indie films.

If I hear anyone else talking about 'message films' in the future (and in the same speech congratulating George Clooney for making some of these) I'll take it to mean that he's really talking about mainstream studio blockbuster 'message' films, especially if he is a man called Dave, who's clearly been shuffling along to his local multiplex and nothing else. To poach another book title, We Need To Talk About Dave - and send him some decent DVD's.


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