OK, so it’s not an election year for the British PM, but this kind of lunacy smacks of the silliness that surrounds so many political campaigns. Empire Magazine Online reports that current PM David Cameron, while praising the British film industry, wants them to “aim higher.”
So apparently Mr. Cameron skipped the 2011 film season in which Britain produced both the top grossing film of the year (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2) and the critical darling of last awards season (The King’s Speech won four of the Big Five Oscars*).
I’m sorry, but “Aim higher”? With British films leading the pack in both critical and commercial success (a rare combination), it’s hard to see exactly what Cameron’s complaint is.
As usual, it comes back to the economy:
“Our role, and that of the BFI, should be to support the sector in becoming even more dynamic and entrepreneurial, helping UK producers to make commercially successful pictures that rival the quality and impact of the best international productions,” said the man with Armageddon on his DVD shelf.
The key word there is “entrepreneurial.” I’m not knocking Cameron’s wish to support his country and strengthen it’s economy, but when you have a film industry doing such excellent work, isn’t this nit-picking a little?
More importantly, as Ken Loach comments in Empire’s article, Cameron clearly doesn’t know the first thing about the movie business. Someone needs to teach him William Goldman’s Golden Rule: “Nobody knows anything.” If Cameron has any suggestions about sure-fire ambitious projects, more power to him. Better him than me.
This fascinating proclamation raises some interesting questions: How appropriate is it for politicians to direct the film industry? Should there be a separation of state and art? How fair or accurate is David Cameron’s challenge to the British Film Industry in the first place?
*Won: Best Picture, Director, Actor and (Original) Screenplay. It was not nominated for the other Big Award, Best Actress, but did total 12 noms, more than any other movie that year.