Interesting that on the back of overhearing a debate on the radio this morning about the merits of funding the BFI film and TV archive against funding restoration of the Cutty Sark, I should stumble across a little post by Pete Ashton, resident Brum spokesperson and ace photographer and all round good culture vulture for the greater Birmingham region.
Today I found Ashton's piece on how he first learn about films, especially non-British films, via the wonders of TV.
He's right to note that it's become something of a returning complaint in recent years - that mainstream terrestrial TV no longer caters to the broader dynamics of presenting film. Once upon a time, BBC2 had regular foreign films (even if they were sometimes at ungodly hours of the day - though crucially several were scheduled in prime time), and regular serious film review programmes, AND the brilliance of Alex Cox's Moviedrome slot with a good intro to the subsequent screening. I watched dozens of classic films on my portable b&w tv (good job many of them were b&w!). Now, unless you fancy - and can get - BBC4, you're pretty much bollixed for seeing non-US/UK films. Hell, even C4 used to give its late nights over to so called art-house cinema. As for getting an education in film history: forget it.
So Pete Ashton's solution is rental. And I have to say its something I have been considering for some time and may well take up. I quite fancy working my way through a catalogue of great world cinema, both as a reminder of my youth and to see more of the films I really should have watched anyway.
What were the films you remember seeing that now never get a terrestrial outing? Or do you think the segmentation and reliance on digital channels is positive for new generations to learn about film?
Or will the fact that we're ALL going to be digital soon enough make this argument redundant? Does it matter if mainstream channels don't screen older, classic, world cinema films if they're available on DVD or specialist channels?