No new British releases available in the local area to see this week, but an opportunity to watch Mum and Dad, a Leicester premiere, and one of the last British films to be released in 2008 (26 December).
If you want to see British films in Leicester, then it’s likely that you will be visiting the Phoenix regularly for films that fail to get picked up by the multiplexes, and we (Steve and myself) thank the Phoenix for being their guests for this screening. In the bar afterwards, in unwind mode with a drop of Black Bull bitter from Ossett Brewery (so nice to be supping something from my Yorkshire home), we chatted about our very mutual issues about the film. I pushed for some redeeming qualities in the face of Steve’s downbeat response to the ‘torture porn’, but it was hard going. As a professor of British cinema, and with the reflection that Mum and Dad could be the future of British cinema, he was now willing to see his subject go the same way as Latin. What other dark thoughts, I wonder, did the dozen or so other people at the screening take with them in to the night?
Mum and Dad, despite its assured opening sequences, acting and production values, ends up being something to be endured for not great reward. I was an uncomfortable and tense witness at times, squeezing the stick of my white chocolate Magnum. The family horror, with its predictable capture/escape narrative, didn’t update the genre or provide a context in which its sordidness serviced discontent – not even with any force about being exploited by or exploiting the victim foreign worker.
The significance of the film is that it is the first to be released under the Film London Microwave scheme to produce ten films in three years with micro-budgets of £100,000. This is obviously a great opportunity for young film-makers to get support for their personal projects and to make ten films for less than the average price of one British film. The idea is that these projects should be commercial and I suppose with such tiny budgets they have a good chance. The revenue strategy of Mum and Dad is a simultaneous cross-platform release in cinema, on DVD, for download, VOD and premium TV. Let’s hope it not only makes commercial sense and creates work for the industry, but also goes on to produce some films of genuine interest and creativity. The next Microwave film (scheduled for April release) to look out for is Shifty, ‘a sharply scripted, witty, urban thriller’ .
Meanwhile, I will be back on the trail of the 2009 releases at the Phoenix tomorrow afternoon to see Better Things, ‘a work of great beauty’. The beauty and the beastly of British cinema.
Airport, you’ve got a smiling face,
You took the one I love so far away
Fly her away – fly her away – airport.
Airport, you’ve got a smiling face
You took my lady to another place
Fly her away – fly her away.
(‘Airport’, The Motors)