Film production in the UK has experienced a number of booms and recessions. Although many factors can be used to measure the success of the industry, the number of British films produced each year gives an overview of its development: the industry experienced a boom as it first developed in the 1910s, but during the 1920s experienced a recession caused by US competition and commercial practices. The Cinematograph Films Act 1927 introduced protective measures, leading to recovery and an all-time production high of 192 films in 1936. Production then declined for a number of years. Film production recovered after the war, with a long period of relative stability and growing American investment. But another recession hit the industry in the mid-1970s, reaching an all-time low of 24 films in 1981. Low production continued throughout the 1980s, but it increased again in the 1990s with renewed private and public investment. Although production levels give an overview, the history of British cinema is complex, with various cultural movements developing independently. Some of the most successful films were made during 'recessions', such as Chariots of Fire (1981).
The first people to build and run a working 35 mm camera in Britain were Robert W. Paul and Birt Acres. They made the first British film Incident at Clovelly Cottage in February 1895, shortly before falling out over the camera's patent. Soon several British film companies had opened to meet the demand for new films, such as Mitchell and Kenyon in Blackburn. From 1898 American producer Charles Urban expanded the London-based Warwick Trading Company to produce British films, mostly documentary and news. He later formed his own Charles Urban Trading Company, which also produced early colour films. There are many comparations to the Danish History of film. The early films were often melodramatic in tone, and there was a distinct preference for storylines which were already known to the audience - in particular adaptations of Shakespeare plays and Dickens' novels.
In the silent era, audiences were receptive to films from all nations. However, with the advent of sound films, many foreign actors or those with strong regional accents soon found themselves in less demand, and more 'formal' English (received pronunciation) became the norm. Sound also increased the influence of already popular American films.
Alfred Hitchcock's Blackmail (1929) is regarded as the first British sound feature. It was a part-talkie with a synchronized score and sound effects. Later the same year, the first all-talking British feature, The Clue of the New Pin (1929) was released. It was based on a novel by Edgar Wallace, starring Donald Calthrop, Benita Home and Fred Raines, made by British Lion at their Beaconsfield Studios. The first all-colour sound feature (shot silent but with a soundtrack added) was released in the year and was entitled A Romance of Seville (1929). It was produced by British International Pictures and starred Alexander D'Arcy and Marguerite Allan. In 1930, the first all-colour all-talking British feature, Harmony Heaven (1930), was released. It was also produced by British International Pictures and starred Polly Ward and Stuart Hall. A number of all-talking films containing colour sequences, mostly musicals, were also released in the same year. The School for Scandal (1930) was the second all-talking feature to be filmed entirely in colour.
Starting with John Grierson's Drifters, the 1930s saw the emergence of a new school of realist documentary films: The Documentary Film Movement. It was Grierson who coined the term "documentary" to describe a non-fiction film, and he produced the movement's most celebrated film of the 1930s, Night Mail (1936), written and directed by Basil Wright and Harry Watt, and incorporating the poem by W. H. Auden. Other key figures in this movement were Humphrey Jennings, Paul Rotha and Alberto Cavalcanti. Many of them would go on to produce important films during World War II.
Several other new talents emerged during this period, and Alfred Hitchcock would confirm his status as one of Britain's leading young directors with his influential thrillers The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), The 39 Steps (1935) and The Lady Vanishes (1938), before moving to Hollywood.
Music hall also proved influential in comedy films of this period, and a number of popular personalities emerged, including George Formby, Gracie Fields, Jessie Matthews and Will Hay. These stars often made several films a year, and their productions remained important for morale purposes during the second world war.
Many of the most important British productions of the 1930s were produced by London Films, founded by the HungarianemigreAlexander Korda. These included Things to Come (1936), Rembrandt (1936) and Knight Without Armour (1937), as well as the early Technicolor films The Drum (1938), The Four Feathers (1939) and The Thief of Bagdad (1940). These had followed closely on from Wings of the Morning (1937), Britain's first colour feature film in the new three colour process (previous colour features had used a two colour process).
After the boom years of the late 1920s and early 1930s, rising expenditure and over-optimistic expansion into the American market caused the production bubble to burst in 1937. Of the 640 British production companies registered between 1925 and 1936, 20 were still going in 1937. Moreover, the 1927 Films Act was up for renewal. The replacement Cinematograph Films Act 1938 provided incentives for UK companies to make fewer films of higher quality and, influenced by world politics, encouraged American investment and imports. One result was the creation by the American company MGM of a English studio MGM British in Hertfordshire, which produced some very successful films, including A Yank at Oxford (1938) and Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939), before World War II intervened.
The war years also saw the flowering of the Powell and Pressburger partnership with films like Forty-Ninth Parallel (1941), The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp(1943) and A Canterbury Tale (1944) which, while set in wartime, were very much about the people affected by war rather than battles.
Building on the success British cinema had enjoyed during World War II, the industry hit new heights of creativity in the immediate post-war years. Among the most significant films produced during this period were David Lean's Brief Encounter (1945) and his Dickens adaptations Great Expectations (1946) and Oliver Twist (1948), Carol Reed's thrillers Odd Man Out (1947) and The Third Man (1949), and Powell and Pressburger's A Matter of Life and Death (1946), Black Narcissus (1946) and The Red Shoes (1948). British cinema's growing international reputation was enhanced by the success of The Red Shoes, the most commercially successful film of its year in the U.S., and by Laurence Olivier's Hamlet, the first non-American film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Ealing Studios (financially backed by J Arthur Rank) embarked on their series of celebrated comedies, including Whisky Galore (1948), Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) and The Man in the White Suit (1951).
In the 1950s the industry began to retreat slightly from the prestige productions which had made British films successful worldwide, and began to concentrate on popular comedies and World War II dramas aimed more squarely at the domestic audience. The war films were often based on true stories and made in a similar low-key style to their wartime predecessors. They helped to make stars of actors like John Mills, Jack Hawkins and Kenneth More, and some of the most successful included The Cruel Sea (1953), The Dam Busters (1954), The Colditz Story (1955) and Reach for the Sky (1956).
Popular comedy series included the St Trinians films and the "Doctor" series, beginning with Doctor in the House in 1954. The latter series starred Dirk Bogarde, probably the British industry's most popular star of the 1950s. Bogarde was later replaced by Michael Craig and Leslie Phillips, and the series continued until 1970. The Rank Organisation also produced some other notable comedy successes, such as Genevieve in 1953.
The writer/director/producer team of twin brothers John and Roy Boulting also produced a series of successful satires on British life and institutions, beginning with Private's Progress (1956), and continuing with Brothers in Law (1957), Carlton-Browne of the F.O. (1958), I'm All Right Jack (1959) and Heavens Above! (1963). The Italian director-producer Mario Zampi also made a number of successful black comedies, including Laughter in Paradise (1951), The Naked Truth (1957) and Too Many Crooks (1958).
After a string of successful films, including the comedies The Lavender Hill Mob (1951), The Titfield Thunderbolt (1953) and The Ladykillers (1955), as well as dramas like Dead of Night, Scott of the Antarctic and The Cruel Sea, Ealing Studios finally ceased production in 1958, and the studios were taken over by the BBC for television production.
Less restrictive censorship towards the end of the 1950s encouraged B-movie producer Hammer Films to embark on their series of influential and wildly successful horror films. Beginning with black and white adaptations of Nigel Kneale's BBC science fiction serials The Quatermass Experiment (1955) and Quatermass II (1957), Hammer quickly graduated to deceptively lavish colour versions of Frankenstein, Dracula and The Mummy. Their enormous commercial success encouraged them to turn out sequel after sequel, and led to an explosion in horror film production in Britain that would last for nearly two decades. Hammer would dominate British horror production throughout this period, but other companies were created specifically to meet the new demand, including Amicus Productions and Tigon British.
The term British New Wave, or "Kitchen Sink Realism", is used to describe a group of commercial feature films made between 1955 and 1963 which portrayed a more gritty form of social realism than had been seen in British cinema previously. The British New Wave feature films are often associated with a new openness about working class life (e.g. A Taste of Honey, 1961), and previously taboo issues such as abortion and homosexuality (e.g. The Leather Boys, 1964).
The New Wave filmmakers were influenced by the documentary film movement known as "Free Cinema". Free Cinema emerged in the mid-1950s and was named by Lindsay Anderson in 1956. They were also influenced by the Angry Young Men, who were writing plays and literature from the mid-1950s, and the documentary films of everyday life commissioned by the British Post Office, Ministry of Information, and several commercial sponsors such as Ford of Britain, during and after the Second World War.
The films were personal, poetic, imaginative in their use of sound and narration, and featured ordinary working-class people with sympathy and respect. In this respect they were the inheritors of the tradition of Mass Observation and Humphrey Jennings. The 1956 statement of the Free Cinema gives the following precepts: "No film can be too personal. The image speaks. Sounds amplifies and comments. Size is irrelevant. Perfection is not an aim. An attitude means a style. A style means an attitude."
A group of key filmmakers was established around the film magazine Sequence which was founded by Tony Richardson, Karel Reisz and Lindsay Anderson who had all made documentary films such as Anderson's Every Day Except Christmas and Richardson's Momma Don't Allow.
Together with future James Bond producer Harry Saltzman, John Osborne and Tony Richardson established the company Woodfall Films to produce their early feature films. These included adaptations of Richardson's stage productions of Look Back in Anger with Richard Burton and The Entertainer with Sir Laurence Olivier. Other significant films in this movement include Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960), A Kind of Loving (1962), and This Sporting Life (1963).
After Richardson's film of Tom Jones became a big hit the group broke up to pursue different interests. The films also made stars out of their leading actors Albert Finney, Alan Bates, Rita Tushingham, Richard Harris and Tom Courtenay.
At the same time, producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli combined sex with exotic locations, casual violence and self-referential humour in the phenomenally successful James Bond series. The first film Dr. No was a sleeper hit in Britain in 1962, and the second, From Russia with Love (1963), a hit worldwide. By the time of the third film, Goldfinger (1964), the series had become a global phenomenon, reaching its commercial peak with Thunderball the following year.
The series success led to a spy film boom, with The Liquidator (1965), Modesty Blaise (1966), Sebastian (1968) and the Bulldog Drummond spoofs, Deadlier Than the Male (1967) and Some Girls Do (1968) among the results. Bond co-producer Harry Saltzman had also instigated a rival series of more realistic spy films based on the novels of Len Deighton. Michael Caine starred as bespectacled spy Harry Palmer in The IPCRESS File (1965), Funeral in Berlin (1966) and Billion Dollar Brain (1967), and the success of these ushered in a cycle of downbeat espionage films in the manner of the novels of John le Carré, including The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965) and The Deadly Affair (1966).
Overseas film makers were also attracted to Britain at this time. Polish film maker Roman Polanski made Repulsion (1965) and Cul-de-Sac (1966) in London and Northumberland respectively, before attracting the attention of Hollywood. Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni filmed Blowup (1966) with David Hemmings and Vanessa Redgrave, and François Truffaut directed his only film made outside France, the science fiction parable Fahrenheit 451 in 1966.
American directors were regularly working in London throughout the decade, but several became permanent residents in Britain. Blacklisted in America, Joseph Losey had a significant influence on British cinema in the 60s, particularly with his collaborations with playwright Harold Pinter and leading man Dirk Bogarde, including The Servant (1963) and Accident (1967). Voluntary emigres Stanley Kubrick and Richard Lester were also influential. Lester had major hits with The Knack …and How to Get It (1965), and The Beatles films A Hard Day's Night (1964) and Help! (1965), after which it became standard for each new pop group to have a verité style feature film made about them. Kubrick settled in Hertfordshire in the early 60s and would remain in England for the rest of his career. The special effects team assembled to work on his 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey would add significantly to the British industry's importance in this field over the following decades.
The success of these films and others as diverse as Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Tom Jones (1963), Zulu (1964) and Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965) encouraged American studios to invest significantly in British film production. Major films like Becket (1964), A Man for All Seasons (1966), Khartoum (1966) and The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968) were regularly mounted, while smaller-scale films including Billy Liar (1963), Accident (1967) and Women in Love (1969) were big critical successes. Four of the decade's Academy Award winners for best picture were British productions.
Towards the end of the decade social realism was beginning to make its way back into British films again. Influenced by his work on the Wednesday Play on British television, Ken Loach directed the realistic dramas Poor Cow and Kes.
The British horror boom of the 1960s also finally came to an end by the mid-1970s, with the leading producers Hammer and Amicus leaving the genre altogether in the face of competition from independents in the United States. Films like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) made Hammer's vampire films seem increasingly tame and outdated, despite attempts to spice up the formula with added nudity and gore. Although some attempts were made to broaden the range of British horror films, such as the comic Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter or the cult favourite The Wicker Man, these films made little impact at the box office, and the horror boom was finally over by the middle of the decade.
Some British producers, including Hammer, turned to television series for inspiration, and the big screen versions of shows like Steptoe and Son and On the Buses proved successful with domestic audiences. The other major influence on British comedy films in the decade was the Monty Python group, also from television. Their two most successful films were Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) and Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979), the latter a major commercial success, probably at least in part due to the considerable controversy surrounding its release.
The continued presence of the Eady levy in the 1970s, combined with a loosening of censorship rules, also brought on a minor boom of low-budget British sex comedies and softcore porn movies. Most notable among these were films starring Mary Millington such as Come Play with Me, and the Confessions of... series starring Robin Askwith, beginning with Confessions of a Window Cleaner.
More relaxed censorship in the 1970s also brought several controversial films, including Ken Russell's The Devils (1970), Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs (1971), Quadrophenia (1979), and Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange (1971).
The late 1970s at least saw a revival of the James Bond series with The Spy Who Loved Me in 1977. However, the next film, Moonraker (1979), broke with tradition by filming at studios in France to take advantage of tax incentives there. Some American productions did return to the major British studios in 1977-79, including Star Wars at Elstree Studios, Superman at Pinewood, and Alien at Shepperton.
When the Puttnam-produced Chariots of Fire (1981) won 4 Academy Awards in 1982, including best picture, its writer Colin Welland declared "the British are coming!" (quoting Paul Revere). When in 1983 Gandhi (also produced by Goldcrest) picked up best picture it looked as if he was right. It prompted a cycle of bigger budget period films, including David Lean's final film A Passage to India (1984) and the Merchant Ivory adaptations of the works of E. M. Forster, such as A Room with a View (1986). However, further attempts to make 'big' productions for the US market ended in failure, with Goldcrest losing independence after a trio of commercial flops, including the 1986 Palme d'Or winner The Mission. By this stage the rest of the new talent had moved on to Hollywood.
Handmade Films, part owned by George Harrison, produced a series of comedies and gritty dramas such as The Long Good Friday (1980) and Withnail and I (1987) that had proven popular internationally and have since achieved cult success. The company was originally formed to take over the production of Monty Python's Life of Brian, and subsequently became involved in other projects by the group's members. The Pythons' influence was still apparent in British comedy films of the 1980s, the most notable examples being Terry Gilliam's fantasy films Time Bandits (1981) and Brazil (1985), and John Cleese's hit A Fish Called Wanda (1988).
With the involvement of Channel 4 in film production a number of new talents were developed in Stephen Frears (My Beautiful Laundrette) and Mike Newell (Dance with a Stranger), while John Boorman, who had been working in the US, was encouraged back to Britain to make Hope and Glory (1987). Stephen Woolley's company Palace Pictures also enjoyed some notable successes, including Neil Jordan's The Company of Wolves (1984) and Mona Lisa (1986), before collapsing amid a series of unsuccessful films. Amongst the other notable British films of the decade were Lewis Gilbert's Educating Rita (1983), Bill Forsyth's Gregory's Girl (1981) and Peter Yates's The Dresser (1983).
Following the final winding up of the Rank Organisation, a series of company consolidations in British cinema distribution meant that it became ever harder for British productions. Another blow was the elimination of the Eady tax concession by the Conservative Government in 1984. The concession had made it possible for a foreign film company to write off a large amount of its production costs by filming in the UK — this was what attracted a succession of blockbuster productions to British studios in the 1970s. With Eady gone many studios closed or focused on television work.
However, the enthusiastic reception given to The Madness of King George (1994) proved there was still a market for the traditional British costume drama, and a large number of other period films followed, including Sense and Sensibility (1995), Restoration (1995), Emma (1996), Mrs. Brown (1997), The Wings of the Dove (1997, Shakespeare in Love (1998) and Topsy-Turvy (1999). Several of these were funded by Miramax Films, who also took over Anthony Minghella's The English Patient (1996) when the production ran into difficulties during filming. Although technically an American production, the success of this film, including its 9 Academy Award wins would bring further prestige to British film-makers.
The surprise success of the Richard Curtis-scripted comedy Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), which grossed $244 million worldwide and introduced Hugh Grant to global fame, led to renewed interest and investment in British films, and set a pattern for British-set romantic comedies, including Sliding Doors (1998) and Notting Hill (1999). Working Title Films, the company behind many of these films, quickly became one of the most successful British production companies of recent years, with other box office hits including Bean (1997), Elizabeth (1998) and Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001).
The new appetite for British comedy films lead to the popular comedies Brassed Off (1996), and The Full Monty (1997). The latter film unexpectedly became a runaway success and broke British box office records. Produced for under $4 m and grossing $257 m internationally, studios were encouraged to start smaller subsidiaries dedicated to looking for other low budget productions capable of producing similar returns.
With the introduction of public funding for British films through the new National Lottery something of a production boom occurred in the late 1990s, but only a few of these films found significant commercial success, and many went unreleased. These included several gangster films attempting to imitate Guy Ritchie's black comedies Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Snatch (2000).
After a six year hiatus for legal reasons the James Bond films returned to production with the 17th Bond film, GoldenEye. With their traditional home Pinewood Studios fully booked, a new studio was created for the film in a former Rolls-Royce aero-engine factory at Leavesden in Hertfordshire.
American productions also began to return to British studios in the mid-1990s, including Interview with the Vampire (1994), Mission: Impossible (1996), Saving Private Ryan (1998), Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) and The Mummy (1999), as well as the French production The Fifth Element (1997), at the time claimed to be the most expensive film made in Britain.
Mike Leigh emerged as a significant figure in British cinema in the 1990s with a series of films financed by Channel 4 about working and middle class life in modern England, including Life Is Sweet (1991), Naked (1993) and his biggest hit Secrets and Lies, which won the Palme d'Or at Cannes.
Other new talents to emerge during the decade included the writer-director-producer team of John Hodge, Danny Boyle and Andrew Macdonald responsible for Shallow Grave (1994) and Trainspotting (1996). The latter film generated interested in other "regional" productions, including the Scottish films Ratcatcher and Young Adam.
The new century has so far been a relatively successful one for the British film industry. Many British films have found a wide international audience, and some of the independent production companies, such as Working Title, have secured financing and distribution deals with major American studios. Working Title scored three major international successes, all starring Hugh Grant, with the romantic comedies Bridget Jones's Diary (2001), which grossed $254 million world-wide; the sequel Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, which earned $228 million; and Richard Curtis's directorial debut Love Actually (2003), which grossed $239 million. At the same time, critically-acclaimed films such as Gosford Park (2001), Pride and Prejudice (2005), The Constant Gardener (2005), The Queen (2006) and The Last King of Scotland (2006) also brought prestige to the British film industry.
The new decade saw a major new film series in the US-backed but British made Harry Potter films, beginning with Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in 2001. David Heyman's company Heyday Films has produced four sequels, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix with three more films planned.
Aardman Animations' Nick Park, the creator of Wallace and Gromit and the Creature Comforts series, produced his first feature length film, Chicken Run in 2000. Co-directed with Peter Lord, the film was a major success worldwide and one of the most successful British films of its year. Park's follow up, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit was another worldwide hit, despite its utterly English story, setting, conception and humour. The film grossed $56 million at the US box office and £32 million in the UK. It also won the 2005 Academy Award for best animated feature. In 2005, Vanguard Animations and Ealing Studios produced Britain's first computer animated feature film, Valiant, featuring the voices of Ewan McGregor, Ricky Gervais, John Cleese and Jim Broadbent.
The turn of the new century saw a revival of the British horror film. Lead by Danny Boyle's acclaimed hit 28 Days Later (2002), other examples included The Hole,'Dog Soldiers, The Descent and the comedy Shaun of the Dead.
By the early 2000s, the popularity of British films in the home market had also grown enough to allow a spate of television spin-offs and other comedies aimed largely at the domestic audience, including Kevin and Perry Go Large and Ali G in da House.
Notable British directors emerging during this period include Paul Greengrass (Bloody Sunday, United 93, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum) Michael Winterbottom (24 Hour Party People, A Cock and Bull Story) and Stephen Daldry, whose debut film Billy Elliot (2000) became one of the most successful British films of its year.
More established directors were also busy during this period however. In 2004, Mike Leigh directed Vera Drake, an account of a housewife who leads a double life as an abortionist in 1950s London. The film won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and three BAFTAs. Stephen Frears directed a trilogy of films about British life, beginning with Dirty Pretty Things (about illegal migrant workers in London's black economy), Mrs Henderson Presents (dealing with the Windmill Theatre in World War II) and The Queen (based on the events surrounding the death of Princess Diana). In 2006, Ken Loach won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival with his account of the struggle for Irish Independence in The Wind That Shakes the Barley.
Woody Allen became a convert to British filmmaking, choosing to shoot his 2005 film Match Point entirely in London, with a largely British cast and financing from BBC Films. He followed this with two more films shot in London, Scoop (2006) and Cassandra's Dream (2007).
In 2007 a number of new British films achieved criticial and commercial recognition, including a biography of the singer Ian Curtis in Control; the police comedy Hot Fuzz; the sequel to Elizabeth entitled Elizabeth: The Golden Age and Joe Wright's adaptation of the Ian McEwan novel Atonement. Set in 1935 and during the Second World War, the film was nominated for 7 Academy Awards, including Best Film.
Despite increasing competition from film studios in Australia and Eastern Europe (especially the Czech Republic), British studios such as Pinewood, Shepperton and Leavesden remained successful in hosting major foreign productions such as Finding Neverland, V for Vendetta, Closer, The Mummy Returns, Troy, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, United 93, The Phantom of the Opera and The Golden Compass.
The film industry remains an important earner for the British economy. According to a UK Film Council press release of 15 January 2007, £840.1 million was spent on making films in the UK during 2006.
English actor Daniel Craig became the new James Bond with Casino Royale, the 21st entry in the official Eon Productions series. The film was nominated for nine BAFTA awards, the highest recognition for a Bond film.
British actors and actresses have always been significant in international cinema. Well-known currently active performers include Catherine Zeta Jones, Clive Owen, Rachel Weisz, Paul Bettany, Kate Winslet, Ewan McGregor, Kate Beckinsale, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Jude Law, Daniel Radcliffe, Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Orlando Bloom, Tilda Swinton, Daniel Day Lewis, Jason Statham and Rhys Ifans.
Yet these are mostly American films, only the Harry Potters are classified as British, and even these had US finance, so virtually all the most successful British-flavoured movies are American-made and the profits go to the US. The British film industry is not capable of generating worldwide commercial success on its own. The reasons for this have been put down to British film-makers shying away from commercialism, and an unwillingness to learn or to play by the winning Hollywood formulas for successful commercial films. But the basic fact is that the British cinema market is too small for the British film industry to successfully produce Hollywood-style blockbusters over a sustained period.
The British film industry consequently has a complex and divided attitude to Hollywood. On the one hand Hollywood provides work to British directors, actors, writers, production staff and studios, enables British history and stories to be made as films, and opens up the US and world markets to a limited participation by some in the British film industry. On the other hand, the loss of control and profits, and the market requirements of the US distributors, are often seen to endanger and distort British film culture.
With the launch of Channel 4 and its Film on Four commissioning strand Art Cinema was promoted to a wider audience. However the Channel had a sharp change in its commissioning policy in the early nineties and the likes of Jarman and Greenaway were forced to seek European co-production financing. Ken Russell and Nicolas Roeg were two other directors whose highly personal visual styles and narrative themes might class them as 'Art Cinema'. They also struggled to finance their productions during the 1990s.
The spread of music videos now means there is a steady demand for emerging talent without the requirements of seeking feature film funding. Julien Temple and John Maybury are two examples of this. Also the widespread acceptance of video art as a form has made it possible for British artists such as Sam Taylor-Wood and Isaac Julian to make film works outside of the demands of cinema exhibition.
British special effects technicians and production designers are known for creating visual effects at a far lower cost than their counterparts in the US, as seen in Time Bandits (1981) and Brazil (1985). This reputation has continued through the 1990s and into the 21st century with films such as the James Bond series, Gladiator and Harry Potter.
From the 1990s to the present day, there has been a progressive movement from traditional film opticals to an integrated digital film environment, with special effects, cutting, colour grading, and other post-production tasks all sharing the same all-digital infrastructure. The availability of high-speed Internet Protocol networks has made the British film industry capable of working closely with U.S. studios as part of globally distributed productions. As of 2005, this trend is expected to continue with moves towards (currently experimental) digital distribution and projection as mainstream technologies.
1980s mainstream British cinema also reflected a change in attitudes, with Heat and Dust (1982), Gandhi (1982) and Cry Freedom (1987), although it rarely directly addressed the experiences of Black or Asian British people. The hit comedy Notting Hill (1999) was noted for not featuring any significant black characters in its ensemble cast, despite Notting Hill being home to many British Afro-Caribbeans.
The turn of the century saw a more commercial Asian British cinema develop, starting with East is East (1999) and continuing with Bend It Like Beckham (2002). Some argue it has brought more flexible attitudes towards casting Black and Asian British actors, with Robbie Gee and Naomie Harris take leading roles in Underworld and 28 Days Later respectively.
Kidulthood (2006) was a probing film into London youth.
Opticals rewrite the storage equation: whether files are graphical, video, or text based dictates which access criteria are key.
Nov 30, 1989; opticals rewrite the storage equation Erasable optical storage faces real challenges as it seeks to enter the system...