'Depressing and Dispiriting…it’s no Wonder Nobody Watches British Films'
An Oscar-winning screenwriter says the British film industry produces depressing and dispiriting films that nobody wants to watch
Julian Fellowes, the actor and Oscar-winning writer of Gosford Park, has accused a new generation of film-makers of living in a "child's paradise" and thinking they can sustain a career on "irritating and naive polemics".
Fellowes, who also wrote the screenplay for Vanity Fair, said that far too much lottery funding was going to films which either struggled to be released or flopped at the box office. He added that there was a mindset that had led to a wall of prejudice against "commercial and bourgeois" films.
"The French go to see French movies, the Italians go to see Italian movies, the British go to see American movies. We don't trust British films any more," he said.
"Here, the word 'commercial' has acquired this strange kind of pejorative pattern. If you make anything popular that might appeal to a lot of people, you have sold out. It is worthless, it has no real value."
Fellowes, who delivered his broadside at the Cheltenham Screenwriters' Festival last week, said: "We had a sort of session here, with some young writers doing pitches for ideas for scripts they either had written or were intending to write, and what was interesting about the exercise was that one couldn't imagine why anyone would want to see about three quarters of the films they were pitching.
"Someone was talking about a film about drug traffickers where one of the characters ended up in a woman's prison. And someone said, 'Oh well, of course, I understand why you want to do this because it's real life'. Now, of course, it is real life, but whose real life is it?"
A full report of Julian Fellowes remarks appears in The Telegraph