Throughout the last year as project after project was shelved, the Credit Crunch proved that nothing could escape its destructive path. On both sides of the Atlantic, directors big and small mourned the death of beloved projects. Nobody, it seemed, was safe from the film industry’s great cull. Established masters to young upstarts, were left to survey the barren funding landscape they now witnessed before them.
The obscene budget for _Avatar_ conceals the fact that film funding has taken a huge blow internationally. The hedge funds and banks’ investment arms who put forward so much of the capital in the boom years have retreated to much safer ventures than the risk heavy film industry.
In 2010 we may have already passed through the eye of the storm but the chances of securing funding for anything but the safest success remains nigh on impossible.
But how has British cinema fared? Even in the boom years no British director would have admitted to being be happy with the levels of UK film funding. Despite a creative resurgence in recent years British Film struggles to find an audience and the majority of home produced films end up losing money.
We could come to view the last decade as the golden years of British film. Buoyed by tax breaks and injections of lottery and BBC cash, the UK film industry achieved levels of success both artistically and commercially never seen before.
2009 may indeed represent the crest of a beautiful wave for British film, and _Slumdog Millionaire_ represents its absolute peak. One of the most successful British films ever, it was the first entirely British-funded film to win a Best Picture Oscar since _Hamlet_ in 1948.
Beyond mere commercial successes, 2009 saw a host of phenomenal arthouse productions sweep the independent awards globally. _Moon_, _Bronson_ and _Bright Star_ and many others all shone brightly around the world (a list of the best UK films of 2009 will appear on the _Boar_ film website soon) but Britain’s greatest success arthouse was _Fish Tank_ which swept up the Cannes Jury Prize.
But what of life after the fall? Many predicted the death of British film, but I am proud to announce quite the opposite. In a literally bursting year, the writers of _Peep Show_ take on global jihad, female Ford workers want sex, the Nazis occupy Britain and Diversity enter the third dimension.
The year to come looks set to be another thrilling twelve months for UK cinema. Here _Boar_ film provides you with an overflowing list of the best British films for 2010:
In more ways than one the coming year looks set to defy belief. Who would have predicted Diversity could make history by starring in the UK’s first ever film in three dimensions, _Street Dance 3D_.
Gurinder Chadha does her best to leave reality at the door with _It’s A Wonderful Afterlife_. It follows concerned mother Mrs. Sethi, fed up with so many refusals for her daughter’s hand in marriage who takes matters into her own hands in a unique way… After discovering a number of bodies with kebab skewered heads and tandooried bones, Police begin a search for a murderer who cooks a killer curry.
BBC films also bring us the sequel to _East Is East_, _West Is West_. Sajid’s opposition to his father’s insistence on following Pakistani tradition sees him banished to the house of Mrs Khan No. 1. Determined to put things straight Mrs Khan No. 2 and family set out to the Punjab to resolve matters.
The complications surrounding identity are again raised in comic fashion by _Infidel_. A self professed ‘salt of the earth’ Muslim cab driver discovers he actually holds Jewish ancestry, leads his assumptions about his own identity to be challenged in this unique comedy from David Baddiel.
The issues surrounding the clashing of cultures, are given a contemplative and profound examination by _Peep Show_ writers Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong. In collaboration with the creator of _Brass Eye_, they put the ‘ha’ in ‘jihadi’ with _Four Lions_.
Taking the conflict of east and west more seriously we have _Triage_ starring Colin Farrell as a combat photographer in Kurdistan. There he has to witness staff making the choices that will determine who is to live and who is to die in a combat hospital where he rushes his injured friend Mark. As the film’s director, Danis Tanovic, spent two years filming the front lines of Sarajevo for the Bosnian Army expect _Triage_ to be a deeply involved, thought provoking film.
_Egression_ is another film in a strong selection of mature dramas from British film makers. It offers a bleak analysis of modern life as its three principle characters, in their own ways, are all looking for redemption or escape. What start out as lives of distractions-drink, drugs, casual sex-turn into lives of self abuse and addiction. The characters confront difficult questions, and find their solutions even tougher. Expect Ray Brady, director of _Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang_, to pull no punches with this revealing drama.
_London Boulevard_ is another film to look at modern British life with a harsh lens, yet also offers a glimmer of hope. The film focuses on a South London criminal newly released from prison who becomes involved with a reclusive young actress. William Monahan, writer of _The Departed_ brings us his directorial debut starring Colin Farrell, Keira Knightley and Ray Winstone.
Alex Garland brings us a screen adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Booker prize shortlisted novel _Never Let Me Go_. Garland has built up a devoted following with his novels and exceptional screenplays and this latest offering is almost bound to impress. The film stars Carey Mulligan who follows up form her phenomenal success in _An Education_. It also stars Keira Knightley as queen bee at a stuffy English boarding school the girls both attend. The plot develops after the girls discover they are clones created for organ donation. A stellar cast, a brilliant screenwriter and an incredible novel on which it is based, _Never Let Me Go_ looks set to be one of Britain’s biggest successes this year.
From public school girls to working girls, _We Want Sex_ brings us an all star dramatisation of Dagenham factory workers fight for equal pay. The cast-list reads like a who’s who of Brit-indie darlings with Sally Hawkins in the starring role, backed up by Bob Hoskins, Miranda Richardson and Rosamund Pike. Set in the late 60s at a time when the British public vilified strikers, the ladies fight against their poor working conditions, unfair wages and employers’ hypocrisy. Remembering a landmark battle in the fight for equal pay, the BBC bring a highly relevant issue to light in a touching and thought provoking film.
Thomas Turgoose, child star of _This Is England_ and _Somerstown_ appears in the _Scouting Book For Boys_ that was a great success at the London Film Festival last year.
Continuing the British tradition of compelling low budget British horror movies we have _Tony and Kicks_.
Unemployed and employable, Tony prowls the streets attempting to find some kind of social contact. However his nervous attempts at human contact are met with laughter and contempt, and this frustration drives him to commit a string of brutal murders. Think Mark Corrigan…armed with a hammer and a sinister moustache.
_Kicks_ on the other hand follows two lively teenage girls who become lured by celebrity and fame into an obsession that becomes a nightmare. Both are obsessed by a Liverpool footballer, on whom the two share a massive crush. The pair’s relationship is fuelled by their shared dreams for something just out of their reach. In their search a powerful chemistry develops that leads the pair to a shocking conclusion.
A shocking horror: a shockingly good year for British film-bring on 2010!