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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Must “great” films be commercial?

Now that the UK Film Council is no more and its purview has passed to the British Film Institute, its director, Amanda Nevill, is now “the most powerful figure in British film,” as the Telegraph dubbed her. One of her new jobs, taken over from the UFFC, is deciding with which productions lottery money destined to support British films actually goes to… and as the Telegraph points out, last year’s Oscar winner The King’s Speech couldn’t have been made without the support of UKFC.

The biggest criticism of UKFC had been that it seemed more interested in making commercial films than in making great films Nevill seems to suggest that this isn’t something she’s too worried about. She told the Telegraph:

There’s a false dichotomy between commercial and cultural. They’re completely symbiotic. I don’t believe there’s a filmmaker out there who doesn’t want to make a film that’s so compelling that it sets the world alight and makes people want to see it. In other words, it becomes commercial

I think it’s certainly true that a great film can also be a commercial film. I’m just not sure that that’s always the case.

What do you think? Must “great” films be commercial? Or is that limiting our definition of great too much?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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