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The Auteurs Daily: Best of the British


The Auteurs Daily


The Observer Film Magazine poll that gives us a list of the "best British films" of the last 25 years can only be described as informal - but it's the informality that makes it interesting. The Sunday paper has asked "more than 60 experts - directors, screenwriters, actors, critics - and a few smart 'outsiders' (novelistJonathan Coe, for instance; musician Nitin Sawhney) to name their top 10 British films since 1984." And they've reprinted several of those top tens here.


Each of the 25 films gets its own page, its own story (albeit in most cases, just a blurb). They talk with Danny Boyle, for example, about the film in the #1 slot, Trainspotting: "'The breathtaking bravado of the acting goes without saying now, but for me the thrill remains the quality of the writing.' He means both the novel and the adaptation: 'Irvine Welsh's book is a modern masterpiece out of which a number of very different films could still be made. John Hodge's script somehow found the right mixture of devotion and disrespect. Both writers had a lunacy about their approach and we all followed giddily, longing for more. It's a very British lunacy of being prepared to laugh about anything.'"

So here's the list; the titles link to the Observer, and many are followed by links to pages here at The Auteurs, where you can drop your own thoughts, discuss, rate, etc. Or you can head straight to the months-long discussion of Best British Films. Now then, far as I can tell, while there are indeed 25 titles listed, but #12 seems to have gone missing, while there are two #23's. Go figure; someone over there seems to have forgotten how.

1. Trainspotting (The Auteurs)

2. Withnail & I (The Auteurs)

3. Secrets & Lies (The Auteurs)

4. Distant Voices, Still Lives (The Auteurs)

5. My Beautiful Laundrette (The Auteurs)

6. Nil By Mouth (The Auteurs Forum)

7. Sexy Beast (The Auteurs)

8. Ratcatcher (The Auteurs)

9. Slumdog Millionaire (The Auteurs)

10. Four Weddings and a Funeral (The Auteurs)

11. Touching the Void (The Auteurs)

13. Control (The Auteurs)

14. Naked (The Auteurs)

15. Under the Skin (The Auteurs)

16. Hunger (The Auteurs)

17. This Is England (The Auteurs)

18. Shaun of the Dead (The Auteurs)

19. Dead Man's Shoes (The Auteurs)

20. Red Road (The Auteurs)

21. Riff Raff (The Auteurs)

22. Man on Wire (The Auteurs)

23. Hope and Glory (The Auteurs)

23. My Summer of Love (The Auteurs)

24. 24 Hour Party People (The Auteurs)

25. The English Patient (The Auteurs)

Also in this quarter's issue: Jason Solomons assesses the state of the industry in Britain and Killian Fox looks to digital technology as a means of reshaping said industry; Demetrios Matheou profiles Michael Winterbottom; Charles Gant previews Nick Love's The Firm, a remake of Alan Clarke's 1988 original; Philip French lists "10 classic British archetypes"; Killian Fox chats with Daniel Battsek, "America's British mogul," Ken Russell, "aspiring director" Marina Parker and boom operator Tony Cook. John Landis looks back on the making of An American Werewolf in London; and the Magazine reprints James Saynor's 1993 interview with Miranda Richardson.

Notably tweeted this weekend @theauteursdaily: Gary Indiana goes long on Warhol, dedicating his entry to Charles Rydell and Mary Woronov; Michael Guillén's Lucrecia Martel transcripts: a La Ciénaga Q&A and a conversation with B Ruby Rich about The Headless Woman; John Greyson has pulled his 15-minute short Covered from the Toronto International Film Festival in protest against TIFF's Spotlight on Tel Aviv program and posted it online, where it'll be freely viewable until the festival wraps; "Has 3D already failed?" asks Kristin Thompson; Jake Gyllenhaal talks with Natalie Portman for Interview (both star in Jim Sheridan's Brothers); Henry Jenkins suggests that District 9 "might best be understood as borrowing from and contributing to a larger tradition of Afrofuturist science fiction"; Dave Kehr on on Alice Guy, Louis Feuillade, Léonce Perrer and Kino's 3-disc set, Gaumont Treasures 1897-1913; also in the New York Times, a bit of early fall previewing: Atom Egoyan's Chloe and John Cameron Mitchell's Rabbit Hole with Nicole Kidman.


As good as some of those films are, that list is kind of depressing if it’s meant to encapsulate the best that Britain can contribute to cinema.
The best British ones are the 40-50-60-70’s period !!….une exception toutefois pour “1984”, the film, done, what a coincidence in 1984 (M.Radford)….
notable omissions from the 25: Robinson In Space (Keiller, 1997) London (Keiller, 1994) Last Resort (Pawlikowski, 2000) United 93 (Greengrass, 2006) – yes, it’s British! hats off to Joanna Hogg, who includes both of the Keiller features in her list. Hogg’s own Unrelated (2007) might well have been in mine (along with Dead Man’s Shoes and Control.)
Nothing I see on that list deserves priority over the Brothers’ Quay’s “Street of Crocodiles” (’86)
Neil, I look forward to the day those of us outside the UK can watch “Unrelated” right here, but in the meantime, I might just have to order a DVD. The reviews of “Unrelated” alone had me intrigued enough; now that list of hers just makes a viewing that much more urgent.
I shocked they think Naked is only 14 (its easily my favorite film of the 90s) and an omission of Peter Greenaway’s The Cook the Thief His Wife & Her Lover.
There are obviously countless omissions… One harrowing and unforgotten, but genius of a movie is The War Zone, which no one seems to have mentioned.
I know they aren’t “in yer face” or cool but both Pride & Predjudice and Atonement should certanly be included. And what of The Full Monty? This list is a perfect example of the theory that Brits hate their own commerical success.
what about “this is england”?
Yeah, I heard “This is England” was good.

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