I’m exhausted. Dragging a soap box all the way up the moral high ground is tiring work, but as I’m here now I’m going to jolly well stand on it.
The grit in the oyster of my life this week appears to have been caused from simply living in Devon. While I love living in this fair county it would seem that higher powers in film buying departments deem us not fit to enjoy some of the stranger but no less delicious fruit from the film tree.
There are a few films out this week causing the kind of excitement that generates mild frothing at the mouth from film writing types. There’s Submarine from British Bright New Hope Richard Ayoade; Route Irish, which sees Ken Loach tackling the Iraq issue and then there’s the latest Woody Allen film You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger.
I know that the Exeter Picturehouse is at least one place in the county that I could catch the latter, but as for the other two if I want to see them in their opening weekend I’d have to trek up to Bristol and beyond to sample their charms.
Being a busy, go-getting media professional (if you substitute ‘go-getting’ for ‘bone idle’, and ‘professional’ for ‘hack’) like many, I don’t have the time or disposable income to constantly travel to keep up with the latest releases in this way. So instead I had to tolerate the cinematic equivalent of a trashy beach read in the form of The Lincoln Lawyer.
Imagine my disappointment (and my language) when I learnt a potentially thrilling weekend of British cinema showcasing the continuing genius of a master and the emergence of a young pretender was to be denied me.
What’s wrong with the Westcountry? Why should we be expected to wait to enjoy these films? And who are faceless executives in London to tell us we won’t like something?
The arts centres and independent cinemas of the South West do a fine job of providing us with foreign marvels and indie curios as best they can, but they shouldn’t be expected to carry the flag all by themselves. I know that modern multiplexes’ chief aim is to make money, but would it kill them to devote maybe just one screen to supporting home-grown talent? To set aside profit margins in a bid to give audiences the choice to watch something other than umpteen viewings of Saw 26: The Horse Flogging.
‘If you build it they will come.’ Applies greatly here; if you give audiences a choice on a regular basis to explore outside of their comfort zone they will begin to look for more challenging material. If you treat people like mushrooms, you’re going to get mould.
Or am I just being overly pessimistic about the situation? Reading about the extent of the box office success of The King’s Speech thoroughly warms my heart, and seeing the likes of Danny Boyle continuing to use his considerable talents and accomplishments to craft great stories that are really worth telling puts a spring in my step.
Things are also improving in other areas. After all, online DVD rental and streaming sites means no matter which part of the country you live you have more choice in what you can watch than ever before. Older and lesser-known productions are more easily available; I’m increasingly delighted by more and more people approaching me declaring their love for a recent foreign or independent production they caught online or picked up cheaply on DVD that would have normally gone undetected on their radar.
Although this does little to dull the sting of reading through the Box Office top 10 each week. Crossing my fingers in the hope that my favourite films achieve the higher places they deserve only leaves me with cramp and the thudding reminder that for the most part, scum tends to float to the top.
â€¢ Do you agree or disagree? Put your thoughts and comments below.