Why doesn’t Britain have a film industry?
“Oh, it has a film industry!” you say, “What about Danny Boyle and that other guy and Helen Mirren?”
Remember when David Puttnam said “The British are coming!” after winning the Oscar for “Chariots Of Fire” (1981)? The British never really came, did they?
Well, they came in the sense that Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, Alan Parker, Roland Joffe, and Adrian Lyne left Britain to come make movies in the US.
The UK is stuffed full of some of the most talented people in the world. This I firmly believe.
But most of those people work in post-rooms and hydraulics factories and exercise their talent down the pub on a Friday at Trivia Quiz Night.
Why this is I can’t say for certain.
I theorize three possibilities:
- 1.) Excellence is simply not a thing highly prized in British society.
- 2.) Excellence has so often been crushed in British society that no one risks trying for it anymore.
- 3.) Britain is saturated with so many security cameras, staring at you all day long, that any kind of inspiration is quickly drowned in self-consciousness and performance anxiety.
Maybe it’s number 3. Maybe the security camera system IS the British motion picture industry. I mean if you could gauge a motion picture industry by the number of frames a second turning at any time of day, Britain would certainly be the world’s front-runner. In fact, maybe the British film industry has actually attained a state of Zen perfection in observing itself so thoroughly and continuously. Millions of British cameras pointing at British people being watched on British monitors by other British people in tea-stained rooms filled with monitors and empty bags of snacks. No interpretation, no spin, no story, no character arc. Just Britain watching Britain being Britain.
Wow. I guess Britain does have film industry.