Sunday, 5 August 2007

British Film Forever

Last night BBC2 showed the second instalment of their summer film show British Film Forever. Last week's topic was the thriller; this week's genre in the spotlight was romance movies. And while the show, which took in everything from Spring In The Park to Brief Encounter to Four Weddings to Gregory's Girl and Notting HIll, was marginally better than last week's weak, badly written, infantile, "frothy", crass, dumber-than-dumb exploration of the thriller, it still made for cringeworthy viewing.

Clearly aimed at people who know nothing about cinema, it's the type of clip-heavy/talking-head filled show that Channel 4 or Five would serve up, and certainly not what one would expect from the Beeb. My, my, how standards have slipped. A case in point: last night's programm featured Powell & Pressburger. Fine. Good. As they should. They had director Kevin Macdonald, Pressburger's grandson, and P&P expert Ian Christie talking about their films. Fine. Well done. Both had smart things to say. HOWEVER. How can one talk about romantic movies and Powell & Pressburger and NOT talk about A Matter Of Life And Death or I Know Where I'm Going?

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

And while I'm ranting, why on these types of shows do they always insist of talking about the end of each film, followed by a clip of said denouement. If anyone watching hasn't seen the film in question, you've just ruined it for them. Last week, they showed the moment from Get Carter when — SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT — Caine is gunned down on the beach. And the end of Brighton Rock where — SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT — Pinky is kiled. And London To Brighton. Which I haven't seen yet — the DVD is on the shelf, waiting — so I had to close my eyes and stuff my fingers in my ears until I hoped they were done. Come on people. Since these programmes are, very obviously, designed for the cine-illiterate, by showing the end aren't you removing any reason for people to watch the films in question.

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

A couple of years ago I had an idea for a seven-part series on British cinema. Yeah, yeah, I hear you say. But it's true. And take it from, mine would have been a lot better.

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