FADED REFLECTIONS AND CONTEMPORARY PROJECTIONS: THE 57TH ANNUAL EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
SOME SCOTTISH CINEMA STUFF
Scottish films are depressing and bleak and dark as hell; I’ve said it before and I’ll, unfortunately, hafta say it again. I saw four Scottish features in one day this year at the festival and felt like slitting my wrists (we coulda filmed it and called it a “Dans Ma Peau 2: La Mort Des Ecossaise”) or jumping off the ramparts at Edinburgh Castle. I mean, just because we’re a post-industrial country with a plummeting populace, sectarianism, heavy poverty, a brain drain in effect, terrible health standards, falling educational standards, a half-built Parliament ludicrously over-budget and behind schedule, a serious drugs and alcohol problem, ever-larger numbers of non-English-speaking male asylum seekers in their early 30s from who-knows-where without families who get better amenities than some of the indigenous populace coupled with a lack of social integration, we’re gonna be socially decimated if they open the pubs 24/7 like they want to just to raise brewery profits, are captives to English shareholders, much of our work is controlled from England, and we sometimes seem like a dying country…not to mention that we hafta suffer River City, one of the worst soap operas ever known to man…is that any reason to create such downer art?
I think not!
Smile you dreary bastards!
Give us a bit of song and dance!
Cos pity knows we need it right now…
I think the fact that Glasgow produces a lot of these films is as significant a cultural factor in this weighty social realism stuff as anything else. Glasgow is the UK’s top film production area outside of London, with its own set of social problems, many of which I listed above. Scottish film seems to regard itself as duty-bound to fulfill some sort of (anti) social worker agenda but to be perfectly honest, I can’t say that any of these films have helped out any.
Many Scottish people will pay lip service to worthy Scottish cinema and how good it is…then go straight to the DVD shop and rent out “Legally Bland 5.” But still, they continue pumping this gritty rubbish out for ten people to view. Another problem is the fact that the cultural arbiters (Scottish Screen, UK Film Council, etc) who control the purse strings and dole out grants to would-be Scottish filmmakers are middle class arty types who find the idea of making lighthearted fare (and, indeed, boospithiss, money) to be abhorrent to their ‘refined’ aesthetic (non)sensibilities.
Man, what a fucked-up, hopeless situation.
Best to stop writing about and just do some reviews, cos it’s never gonna change…
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Posted on August 29, 2003 in Festivals by Graham Rae
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