Cinema: Such Fun Singing the Blahs

Three caustic new films help revive the British cinema

It is the worst of times; it is the best of times. Britain and its film industry are mired in an economic funk, and sympathetic Englishmen like Filmmaker John Boorman (The Emerald Forest) are detecting a "national malaise" in which "all our actions are punitive. We are intent on punishing one another, exacting penance." This flagellation is most evident in a trio of new British films. The wave of ironic celebrations of the imperial past (Chariots of Fire, A Passage to India, The Jewel in the Crown on TV) has ebbed, and on the shore we find the carcass of a...

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