Sunday, 22 January 2012

weekend (w&d andrew haigh)

It might be that the will is flagging, as I saw Haigh's surprisingly successful movie before 2011 had drawn to a close. The film itself has a clear agenda: to tell its gay narrative with as much vigour as any straight narrative, not to pull its punches, not to be in any way embarrassed about what it's doing. It's a gay Before Sunrise and just as wordy as Linklater's film. The two lead characters are convincing, their relationship, doomed to be nipped in the bud, is, in its way, quietly affecting.

Which perhaps explains the film's success. In truth, despite all the noises recently about the rude health of the British film industry, it seems to me that even at our most maverick we still seem to be producing films which are parochial. Little stories that search out their niche in the market. In that sense we're not that far removed from the fledgling film business of the country I'm returning to shortly, in spite of the money, energy and kudos lavished on the film industry here. Weekend isn't that far removed from Archipelago or Tyrannosaur or much else in terms of the scale of its ambition. Of course, so much of that ambition is re-routed to Hollywood, where people go if they want to get paid well. Thinking on the films of Anderson, Roeg or even someone like Lean, they seem to come from a different, less risk-averse time. As ever, this says more about the industry and the financiers (and hence, obliquely, the intellectual optimism of the country) than it probably does about the filmmakers themselves. There probably are plenty of filmmakers with a grander vision, but there's not much chance of the films they want to make being produced here. 

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