The rise of the American Multiplex under Thatcher’s reign coincided, or perhaps for a more accurate description, triggered, the demise of British Cinema, a once hugely prominent and influential figure in world wide film production. While Hollywood continues to rise in productivity, everyone else seems to be sinking into unsustainable financial mire of film production investment; a common trend since the creation of the Marshall Plan back in 1945 following the economic crisis within Britain post World War Two.
But I believe there are many reasons to be a cheerful Brit as even in these dark times, there has never been a lack of talent or potential. Although in prior times Britain has been stereotypically known for more dour socially realistic productions and ‘Costume Dramas’ than for light hearted entertainment, there has been a change in the wind and more ‘feel good films’ have been capturing the hearts of cinema goers including Danny Boyle’s ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ adaption which gained both critical and commercial success, indicating potentially promising signs for a resurgent Britain and while it’s hard to claim them truly ‘British’, runaway productions in the form of James Bond and Harry Potter franchises continue to reap financial rewards.
While it is much more financially risky for British Production Companies to ‘gamble’ on a film with unknown talent and a considerably ‘different’ script, the UK Film Council will fund UK productions with £8million for more established directors on top of the £5million it invests in new and upcoming innovative film makers, which in respect is hardly anything compared to the bill of a US production, is still government financed and a massive benefit and opportunity to film makers across the country.
But the real potential lies in the talent Britain has always held which could be gradually combined with the upcoming talent. For instance, ‘The Dark Knight’, the fourth highest grossing film of all time and already heralded as a modern great was directed by Christopher Nolan, who unknown to most, was born and lived in London for early stages of his life before moving to America. The fact he is yet to reach the age of forty promises endless potential for years to come. Likewise, fellow modern directors also stamp British talent within America with ‘The Bourne Supermacy/Ultimatium’ director Paul Greengrass illustrating this. Meanwhile, Shane Meadows is an example of a home grown talent whom continues to produce quality productions on small scale budgets for British audiences such as Somers Town and This Is England while there is hardly a lack of prolific actors starring in films on either side of the Atlantic with Daniel Craig, James McAvoy, Gerald Butler, Keria Knightly, Orlando Bloom and Paul Bettany fine examples of such.
In conclusion, it’s fair to state that these are potentially promising times for the UK in terms of productions and while it will be a long time before there will be competition with US films in the Cinema Screening schedules, a gradual and steady approach could see the continuation and extension to the golden crop of British Film Making.