Art failure

The Guardian reports on the release of a new package of six world cinema titles, called “Discoveries”, that distributor Optimum Releasing and BBC4 are launching this week in conjunction with the Edinburgh film festival in an attempt to revive the flagging market in foreign-language films. Elsewhere in the piece, a director of the ICA attributes the unpopularity of these movies to the total lack of those shown on TV these days. I couldn’t agree more – in the eighties and early nineties, Channel 4 and BBC2 used to show a great range of art-house and foreign films. True, some of them I couldn’t understand at all, but at least they exercised your brain, and movies like Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colours trilogy (Blue was my favourite), which you never see anymore, were fantastic. The news is good in some ways but I can’t lie about my contempt for the BBC’s creation of a two-tier British Broadcasting Corporation, which (a) feeds us non-digital licence-fee-paying proles a load of old tosh every night and (b) is transparently only putting the good stuff on digital to make money.