2004-09-09 05:18 am (UTC)
France is fortunate when it comes to cinema. You don't share a language with the Americans so you're not tempted to play to their market. As a result you have a strong and characterful film culture
Eddie Izzard has a great bit about British Film. Something, if I recall correctly, about how if a movie made any bit of money in the UK, Hollywood would buy it right up and change the script around. Taking "Remains of the Day" and adding killer robots and a rambo character to kill them. He also mentioned something like if the British made Star Wars it would just be Princess Leia and whoever the other characters were (I've never actually seen these films) opening and shutting doors, arranging matches and looking uncomfortable.
"Um...er...yes, well. I'd better go"
(Uncomfortable British Silence)
"Perhaps you'd better"
(Uncomfortable, Repressed British Silence)
(Uncomfortable, Repressed, yet Longing British Silence)
In the spirit of full disclosure however, two of all my all-time favorite films, Trainspotting and Velvet Goldmine were made on those mess of islands you've all got up there.
Yes, I've seen that particular British movie- many, many times.
We make the odd good film. I'm not crazy about Velvet Goldmine, but I can see it's got something about it. And now the director, Todd Haynes, is making movies in Hollywood.
I'm not sure about the Trainspotting guys. They went to Hollywood and got burned and now I think they're back over here.
But there's so little continuity. A Brit director makes one good film and you guys poach him.
My favourite British film makers are Powell and Pressburger- they stayed over here and made a succession of weird, over-cooked, and brilliant movies through the 40s and 50s. They're the exception to the rule- almost the only one I can think of.
2004-09-09 05:46 am (UTC)
I confess I enjoyed it because i have a bit of a thing for men in drag!
Fair enough. But everytime someone said that Crudup/Kinaston was the most beautiful woman in London I did a double-take. Were standards of beauty so very different during the Restoration? I thought he looked like Widow Twanky.
2004-09-09 07:26 am (UTC)
Are there any pictures of the real Kynaston?
I suppose also people were accustomed to thinking differently about things (taking into account the script). The onnagata of Japan (men who play women's roles) are not especially feminine but the conventions are so deep you accept them as not being anything else within the role. The styalisation of onnagata means that when they tried to have women playing the roles this century it failed miserably because they were not feminine within the context of Kabuki theatre.
I've looked up Kynaston on the web and can't find any references to a portrait. He was born c 1640 and played his last female role in 1661 (not Desdemona but Evadne in Fletcher's The Maid's Tragedy.) He was playing male roles by 1665 and didn't work with Betterton until the 1690s. He died in 1706.
Which means that the film is playing fast and loose with the facts. Kynaston wasn't a man playing women, but a boy playing women- rather a different proposition.
I think that tends to undercut the idea that the English theatre had a kabuki-like tradition of female impersonators.
Crudup is 36- which makes him 15 years too old for the role
2004-09-11 08:17 am (UTC)
Actually checking the Pepys reference there he said that his voice was off, so obviously his voice would have broken which would have precipitated a change in roles anyway in all probability.
I did find a picture but I cannot recall the URL. His face was much softer than Crudup's is!
I'll have to go and look for that picture! :)
come come- it was BAWDY!!
that's what made it great.
Yeah, these heritage films always are- The Private Life of Henry VIII, Tom Jones- but it's all kept within the bounds of good middlebrow taste. Why didn't we get to see Crudup's dick? That's what I want to know.
if we'd seen his dick we'd have known for sure he was a man, and i for one was kept guessing throughout the entire movie over that little quizzler.
yes i was, and rightly indignant that you felt otherwise! as pepys said- he was the most beautiful woman on the stage. i for one agree! pepys knew what he was talking about.
Yeah but the real Kynaston stopped playing women at the age of 21 (I know because I've just looked it up) and Crudup is 36!
oh. i see. disagree with pepys, will you?
that's that, then.
Oh dear- the British film industry.
This is why I like your posts so much: I always get a good settling-in feeling, like I should pour myself some coffee before reading and thinking about what you've said.
..I know nothing about the British film industry. I did enjoy "Hope and Glory"--I thought it was beautifully filmed and was very witty.
I haven't seen that one. But John Boorman is one of our better directors. He also made those quintessential pieces of Americana- Point Blank and Deliverance.
British cinema has thrown up lots of talent but- because we share a language- most of it ends up in the States. It means there's no continuity. Hitchcock is arguably the greatest British born director- he made a great series of films in Britain through the 20s and 30s but then David O Selznick called him over to Hollywood and he was lost to us.
2004-09-11 08:24 am (UTC)
I must confess I disagree, I have never got on with Hitchcock at all. There is something rather cold about his directional style. Yes he was a magnificent technician but to my mind I would place him below Michael Powell (certainly peeping Tom is quite Hitchcockian) who has greater wamth and artistry.
Also Hitchcock only seemed to have one plot 'innocent, on the run, finds love, all is well after some drama and humour'. Not that is bad in itself, I love Strangers on a train, and I thought Rebecca which didn't follow this format a groos disappointment when I saw it, but I cannot understand how my brother can watch his films back to back without becoming bored.
Hitchcock had a huge influence on the way films were made- and so on other directors. From that perspective he's greater (or at least more important ) than Powell.
But I'd trade Vertigo for Black Narcissus any day. I admire Hitch, but I love Powell.
P.S. My favourite British movie is A Canterbury Tale.
2004-09-12 03:37 am (UTC)
Mine is either Kind Hearts and Coronets or Colonel Blimp.