Mar 20

Film industry names ‘Don’t Look Now’ as Best British Film

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Nicolas Roeg’s 1973 steamy gothic thriller tops Time Out’s 100 Best British Films

–A panel of film experts including Sam Mendes (Director of ‘American Beauty’), Wes Anderson (Director of ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’) and actress Sally Hawkins (‘Made in Dagenham’) have selected the 1970s steamy gothic thriller ‘Don’t Look Now’ as the Best British Film of all time, beating the likes of popular British movies such as Trainspotting and Four Weddings and a Funeral to the top spot.

The panel of 150 selected experts, which included directors, actors, heads of major cultural organisations and critics, was assembled by Time Out film editor Dave Calhoun. Each panellist nominated their 10 favourite British films which were then compiled to create a definitive list of Time Out’s 100 Best British Films.

Speaking about the selection as the Best British Film, ‘Don’t Look Now’’s director Nicolas Roeg commented ‘Well, it’s all very exciting indeed’. He continued ‘It’s almost forty years since I made the film now. It’s some time since I last saw it, but I see clips when I introduce it at festivals and it reminds me of that time and making it in Venice with Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie.’

Apart from the surprising ending of the film, one of the film’s most famous moments was the steamy love scene between Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland which Roeg believes helps today’s audiences connect with the film. Roeg told Time Out: ‘Sex, whether you like it or not, is the prime force of life. There is no other reason to be here. For me, sex is very rarely rude. It’s a fresh thing. I think people secretly connected to “Don’t Look Now”. Maybe that’s why, after all this time, people see the film more clearly. When it came out, audiences were less used to it. That scene would’ve been like someone bursting out of a cupboard and shouting “Boo!”.’

The top 10 from Time Out’s 100 Best British Films

Don’t Look Now (1973) – the terrifying Venice chiller starring Julie Christie
The Third Man (1949) – Graham Greene’s story stars Orson Welles in post-war Vienna
Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988) – moving Liverpool drama with the late Pete Postlethwaite
Kes (1969) – Ken Loach’s Northern Classic about a boy and his kestrel
The Red Shoes (1948) – a beautiful melodrama set in the world of ballet
A Matter of Life and Death (1946) – the greatest film of World War Two with David Niven
Performance (1970) – Mick Jagger and Anita Pallenberg rock and roll in 1960s Notting Hill
Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) – Alec Guinness in one of his finest comic roles
If… (1968) – a brilliant satire about a British boarding school with Malcolm McDowell
Trainspotting (1996) – the classic adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s novel with Ewan Macgregor

The full Time Out’s 100 Best British Films, featuring the top 100 along with panellists’ individual selections, can be found online by visiting: www.timeout.com/bestbritishfilms.

On the significance of Time Out’s 100 Best British Films, Time Out’s film editor Dave Calhoun comments: ‘This is a once-in-a-decade poll and it throws new light on the films which inspire our current actors, directors and writers. In the same week that the Bafta winners are announced, and as the British film funding landscape remains in flux, now seems as good a time as ever to think about British cinema in the context of over 100 years. Add to that the aggressive flag-waving over ‘The King’s Speech’, and you could say that such soul-searching isn’t just a good idea, it’s essential.”

To celebrate the outstanding achievements of the British Film industry Time Out Live will be launching the Time Out’s Film Club with a series of exclusive screenings of films from the 100 Best British Films at the Cineworld Haymarket in London. Starting from March 22, these special screenings will feature introductions from the likes of actors Jonathan Pryce (‘Pirates of the Caribbean’), David Morrissey (‘Doctor Who’) and Sally Hawkins (‘Happy-Go-Lucky’). For further information and tickets, visit www.timeout.com/filmclub.