The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'working title'
An article in The Times takes apart the genre of Feel-Good Brit Flicks:
The Germans have given us the paranoid depths of Expressionism, the Italians created Neo-Realism, the French have perfected brooding Melodramatic Existentialism, while the British bask in the bathetic glow of a plucky little yokel, a couple of nude scenes and a happy-clappy sing-song finale.
It's no wonder, then, that the FGBF is terrified by modern realities. It tentatively flirts with difficult issues such as race, gender roles and sexuality, yet it does so merely for narrative frisson and is quick to reassert the power of tradition and to subsume all unresolved conflicts into the high-spirits finale. Thus the miners' strike in Billy Elliot is forgotten in the face of Billy's closing Swan Lake stage dive. In The Full Monty the strippers are still unemployed even as their thongs fly through the air. And at the end of Kinky Boots, conflicted transvestite Lola/Simon (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is no less enlightened about his identity crisis, but he gets to perform some infectious show tunes. In each case cinemagoers leave with smiles on their faces and the entirely erroneous belief that they've just witnessed a film about modern British life.
The latest recipients of knighthoods include actor David Jason (best known as the voice of Dangermouse) and BBC presenter Terry Wogan (who misses out on being called Sir because he's an Irish citizen). Meanwhile the title of Companion of the British Empire goes to Dame Judi Dench and the two founders of film production company Working Title (which is sort of the Merchant-Ivory of Cool Britannia).
Working Title, the (Hollywood-funded) British film company whose studiedly "quirky" romantic comedies have become as synonymous with the 1990s as Merchant-Ivory costume dramas were with the Thatcher era, are putting the formula to rest. That's right, Hugh Grant will have to find something else to do. The studio will continue to make films in other genres (and, indeed, outside of swinging London and whimsical Britain; Working Title have made several films in Australia, including Ned Kelly and that Australian gangster comedy that followed shortly afterwards); chances are, whatever they are, they will be written to formula, focus-grouped to grab the broadest possible audience, and will make a mint.
FALCO! British film production outfit FilmFour is being shut down. Having been responsible for films such as Trainspotting and My Beautiful Laundrette, FilmFour was the premier maker of edgy, intelligent British films. Now the British film industry looks likely to be mostly Working Title/Miramax feel-good pap, insipidly bourgeois Merchant/Ivory costume dramas and formulaic Hollywood blockbusters.
Read: The curse of coffee-table cinema, or how thanks to Disney's Miramax unit, much of "art-house" cinema is now formulaic, content-free soft-focus schmaltz designed to flatter viewers' sense of culture in a mindless sort of way.
Miramax has given the world a host of cliches about European culture - naughty French priests, macho Greeks, hoity-toity Englishmen, zany Italians - and has reduced human complexity to a bunch of hopeless stereotypes bursting with sentiment.
(See also: Working Title, Merchant Ivory) (via FmH)
Following on the success of Working Title romcom Bridget Jones' Diary, Disney's Miramax unit has bought the rights to Kate Reddy, an investment banker and mother created for a Daily Telegraph column. Can Not So Soft: the movie be that far away?
News from Cannes: Bolshy British kitchen-sink film director Ken Loach has spoken out against current British film, saying that it's too concerned with being Hollywoodish. He has a point; most of the films coming out of the UK are rather formulaic. I blame Working Title and the "Cool Britannia" thing. Meanwhile, critical reaction to Baz Luhrmann's latest opus, Moulin Rouge, has not been the nigh-universal acclaim the Australian press would have us believe, with some critics dismissing it as little more than a music video aimed at adolescents. I guess we'll have to wait to find out.