Cinema choice? What cinema choice..?

The Artist

Jean Dujardin & Berenice Bejo in The Artist

In light of the staggering success of The Artist, will UK consumers be granted the wide choice of film that is sadly lacking in our cinemas? The answer is…probably no. Whilst London still (just) benefits from a slightly wider array of films than most major UK cities, many provincial film goers were enraged to realise that their local multiplex had ignored the The Artist – in spite of the phenomenal buzz surrounding the film. With many cinemas only acquiescing at the last moment (following the film’s BAFTA and Oscar nominations in January), one can only assume that money and the easy guarantee of ‘bums on seats’ are the largest motivators in many British cinemas today.

But all is not lost… As choices seem to be restrained and the multiplex chains ‘play it safe’, other recent events in independent cinema can inspire hope. Since a report in 2004 from the Monopolies & Mergers Commission advised greater flexibility from many film distributors, criticising their practice of insisting that films are shown for a ‘minimum exhibition period’ of at least four weeks, screens in independent cinemas are no longer ‘clogged’ up for large periods; resulting in the smaller films being able to be enjoyed and not totally squeezed out of the picture. Similarly the rise of digital cinema allows for a greater number of prints (films) to be created at any given time, increasing the chance of smaller cinemas being screening titles in the most remote corners of the UK.

We still have a way to go however and whilst a quick glimpse at the cinema listings of Paris or any French town may send ardent UK film fans to the nearest Eurostar terminal with passport and wallet ready (13 new film releases in Paris, against 8 in London next week); the important rise of ‘pop-up’ cinemas, local film societies and’ interactive’ screenings can only bear testament to a need and desire for more choice, greater diversity of films and a public who are intelligent enough and ready to be challenged by an alternative to the modern Hollywood canon.


~ by cinemalicious on March 4, 2012.

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