The British film industry is flourishing but home-grown films often fail at the box office. What exactly makes a movie British these days?

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  • Comment number 25. Posted by edward

    on 7 Feb 2014 23:28

    Finacing is key! Whether it's foreign or otherwise, we can always distinguish what is "British.: Anyway, to feel that vibe, give me Mike Leigh, Ken Loach. Shane Meadows and the irreplaceable, Mr. Ken Russell - a man I have have admired since "Women In Love" and had given us the potential to extend our creativity from mediocre budgets - even if it's "Lair of the White Worm," we just don't see it anymore.

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  • Comment number 24. Posted by stantons_mustache

    on 5 Feb 2014 21:38

    None of the obvious criteria can put their finger on a film's nationality in isolation. Consider Katalyn Varga:

    Setting and language - Hungarian
    Filming location - Romania
    Funding, Direction, Production - British

    Neither of the labels British or Hungarian do justice to the diversity of creative input. Filming location is inadequate as Gravity really doesn't feel British given its cast and director. It's much less British than 12 years a slave, for which the creative identity is British, with McQueen, Fassbender and Ejiofor intergral to the film's making and critical acclaim, and yet the scale of production, the funding, the source novel and setting all point to the states. Equally, the nationality of the director, lead actor and much of the supporting cast do not make the Nolan Batman films feel British.

    Ultimately contemporary films are a melting pot of influences and not something to get nationalistic about. The foreign language Oscar is redundant and should be scrapped to give people like Michael Haneke the acclaim their work deserves.

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  • Comment number 23. Posted by information1st

    on 4 Feb 2014 23:51

    Made In Britain vs British Film, eh?!

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  • Comment number 22. Posted by Tom Mansell

    on 4 Feb 2014 12:20

    In Sunderland there is a huge Nissan factory, where skilled British workers make Nissan cars. However, I don't think anyone would ever call a Nissan a 'British car'

    For me it's pretty simple. A British film should have a creative and narrative connection to Britishness. If it can't claim to have both (like Gravity can't) then it's not a British film.

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  • Comment number 21. Posted by RussiansEatBambi66

    on 3 Feb 2014 22:05

    A british movie nowadays usually consists of: a low budget, niche subject matter that will resonate with a minority of the cinema going public and Dr K handing out way too much critical praise for what are pretty standard movies as far as drama goes.

    Sure it's good to see British cinema take risks but it needs to have a good cycle of commercial fare to keep the money coming in so that they can afford to take risks on more costly artistic fare.

    So far they tend to plead ignorant to the Nickleodeon model that's been in place since cinemas first opened their doors.

    The great irony is that so many of the best practitioners in Hollywood are from the UK but sadly have to hop the pond to get onto the filmmaking industry that can actually afford the means to allow their visions to be realised.

    Imagine if the UK film industry could afford to give Ridley Scott, Nolan and Gareth Edwards the budgets to make Inceptions, Godzillas and Blade Runners???????

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  • Comment number 20. Posted by Arch Stanton

    on 3 Feb 2014 21:00

    I had intended to write a little about the British -yes British- classic, An American Werewolf In London….

    Instead, I'd just like to say how saddened I am to hear of Philip Seymour Hoffman's passing. I'm certain that all of the followers and contributors, here on Kermode Uncut, feel just as shocked and, ultimately, depressed by this untimely loss. A truly great actor recognised by many, including the Academy, for his portrayals of often complex, troubled characters living on the fringes of society, and always with complete and utter conviction. Whilst many may remember him for his award winning portrayal of Truman Capote, I will always remember him as the lonely, sensitive care nurse, Phil Parma, in P.T Anderson's wonderful, ensemble epic, Magnolia.

    A terrible loss for modern cinema. He will be missed. My thoughts go out to his family and friends.

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  • Comment number 19. Posted by TRP

    on 3 Feb 2014 17:53

    What is a British film?

    Well, only answer is of course: does it actually matter?

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  • Comment number 18. Posted by information1st

    on 3 Feb 2014 15:18

    I remember way back some foreign companies were making cars in the UK with the Union Jack on it as a sign of "quality". These days it's gone even further:

    Which Honda, Nissan and Toyota models are made in Britain?

    http://conversation.which.co.uk/transport-travel/top-cars-built-in-britain-uk/

    Notably however Honda and Toyota sell to the EU via being in the UK. With the EU in dire straights they've actually sacked a load of workers, whereas Jaguar and Landrover (owned by Tata, an Indian originally steel company) are selling more to asia and have hired British workers in their plants. Is it a British success story or not and for whom?

    I think break-down: Film Industry vs Story Theme

    For eg Star Wars had a British production crew but was an American driven movie Hollywood.

    Withnail and I is a very British film in Story theme, though others can enjoy it, (lots of drinking!) I think you might see more in that movie if you've lived a bit like those 2 and then equally if you lived during that era and finally if you understand some of the British sensibilities and nuances evoked.

    The Film Industry is quick to trumpet successes (at Oscars etc) but I think different measures of the health of the industry could be used to dig further (employed, revenue) as well as British funded films and critical success. Also British stories beyond period pieces or kitchen sink life is grim in rip-off-britain stories.

    The French industry would be good to compare to: Subsidized heavily, churns out tons and that leads to the odd really good movie out of all the drivel and of course very orientated towards the French culture (Ministery de Culture) to beat off the endless Hollywood soft power invasion!

    I suspect the Theatre scene and all the creativity that's hard to measure and how that feeds into film and tv is a good measure of the health? As a cultural orientated entertainment industry there's an important link to maintain from free market economics only.

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  • Comment number 17. Posted by Patch Adams 1981

    on 3 Feb 2014 10:28

    a British should to meet 3 or mare of the following :

    1: Filmed on location British
    2. SFX done in Britain
    3. Contains British Characters that are not serotypes
    4. Contains more than 1 British Character
    5.America does not save the day
    6. London does not blown up just because its the only city outside the USA that America American know
    7. has a British director and at least 1 British actor
    8. the British actor or Character is the lead
    9. Uses real London not the 'Hollywood London'
    10. Uses location, towns, cities outside of London
    11. Contains at least 1 union Jack

    The Kings Speech,, all Bond films and Gravity are covered in the above.

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  • Comment number 16. Posted by Harry Limes Shadow

    on 2 Feb 2014 18:54

    One of the best films of 2013, Metro Manila, was shot in the Philippines and in the language of Tagalog but was a British film. A home grown production with a British director and was the UK submission for the Best Foreign Language Oscar. Regardless of where the financing comes from or where it was shot, shouldn't we classify a British film as one that originates from these shores.

    Which brings us to the Bafta for Outstanding British Film, of the six films nominated this year The Selfish Giant is the only one without a major studio behind it banging the drum. The inclusion of Gravity, which i really liked, kinda says to world that what we Brits do best is make other people's films for them. If Bafta tightened the remit for qualification of constitutes a "British film" rather than including movies on the basis that the director once shook hands with Mark Kermode, they would have to throw the net wider and include films like Metro Manila, A Field in England, A Liar's Autobiography, The Angel's Share or Berberian Sound Studio.

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