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British Renaissance retrospective of the next Torino Film Festival

Adding to two previously announced retrospectives the Torino Film Festival, which will be directed for the second consecutive year by Nanni Moretti, announced it will be featuring a third retrospective to be dedicated to the English cinema movement of the 1980s - the so-called “British Renaissance”. The two previously announced retrospectives are to be centred on two internationally acclaimed cinematic auteurs’ – Oscar® winner Roman Polanski and Jean-Pierre Melville, “the most American French director”

As the 1980s dawned Great Britain was in turmoil, millions were unemployed, racial conflicts and strikes against the newly elected Thatcher government were commonplace and against this backdrop the UK film industry began to flourish. In 1981 Chariots of Fire, produced by David Puttnam and directed by Hugh Hudson, garnered 4 Academy Awards® single-handedly restoring the British Film Industry’s reputation and leading to major investment from US film studios. At the same time the fourth national TV channel, Channel 4, was launched and immediately began to adopt an innovative strategy, investing the majority of the budget earmarked for fiction into film projects destined for movie theatres.

The success of this experiment inaugurated the so-called “British Renaissance”: with the 1980’s marking the debuts of Neil Jordan, Peter Greenaway, Michael Radford, Richard Eyre, Terence Davies, Sally Potter, Marek Kaniewska and many others. Auteurs who had been confined to television productions for years (Stephen Frears and Mike Leigh) returned to the cinema. It was a defining time in the history of British cinema, powered by fierce and often ironical anti-Thatcherism. The films reflect a Great Britain that was often contradictory, multi-ethnic and always “angry”. The films dealt with Scotland, Ireland, industrial areas of the North, the London suburbs, the bourgeoisie and anti establishment conflicts. They followed styles and genres typical of British cinema (documentaries and gothic, comedy and melodrama, free cinema and detective movies). The “Renaissance” was lead not only by the above filmmakers but renowned British authors including Ian McEwan and Hanif Kureishi, screenwriters led by David Hare and TV talents such as Alan Bennet and Dennis Potter.

The retrospective promises to be a trip through the “Renaissance”, comprised of 25/30 films including the most significant debuts and titles of the period (including: The Terence Davies Trilogy by Terence Davies, Angel by Neil Jordan, The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle by Julien Temple, My Beautiful Laundrette by Stephen Frears, Local Hero by Bill Forsyth, The Ploughman’s Lunch by Richard Eyre), together with genre cinema. There will also be a side trip into British television of the period, with the presentation of one of Ken Loach’s works made for television and a tribute to one of Europe’s most innovative TV talents, Dennis Potter, who remains unsurpassed in his achievements thanks to his two series, Pennies from Heaven and The Singing Detective.

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