Sunday, July 17, 2011

Should TCM Air More Foreign Films?


Turner Classic Movies is the best place on TV to see classic, uncut movies. But seeing as there aren't any channels--at least in the US of A--dedicated to foreign and/or art films, why couldn't TCM expand the definition of classic film to include more foreign films in their schedule? TCM would be the best hope for this, since the Independent Film Channel (IFC) is crap, what with it being chock full of manipulative pharmaceutical ads that advocate self-medication, as well as decidedly UN-independent films like the Three Stooges (though I love Curly Howard)!

The other oasis is the Sundance Channel, which largely sticks to contemporary indie stuff, would anyone besides me like it if TCM dedicated more time to classic foreign films by the likes of Kurosawa, Bergman, and Fellini (to name a few)? What about 1930s movies from other countries? There are only so many airings of the usual English-language fare that the classic film maven can watch and I think a widening of the classic film niche would make TCM all the better. Keep in mind this is all coming froma culture-starved yank who'd love to expand his horizons and be better informed on what the non-Hollywood film world was like.

Learning that the international geniuses of film looked to Hollywood for inspiration has also increased my own personal interest in movies made outside of Hollywood. I owe it to myself to watch Akira Kurosawa's work, seeing as he was quite an admirer of the John Ford-John Wayne collaborations.

If increasing its foreign film output doesn't float your boat, what about a separate "Turner Classics International" channel? I don't agree with the parochial attitude regarding TCM, even if it was launched and made its reputation as a Hollywood-oriented channel. TCM has introduced me to dozens of American movies--as did the late and lamented American Movie Classics--and TCM would no doubt do the same for international films, but seeing as a separate channel ("Turner Classic International") isn't in the works, I'd be more than happy with, say, a Wednesday night showcase of foreign films each week.

In this age of seemingly unlimited channels, we have surprisingly few choices. How sad that in an age of so many channels, that so much sameness still dominates TV. Of course, barring any move on TCM's part, I could just join Netflix and subscribe to foreign fare to my heart's content, but it's a different thing altogether to see TCM use its influence to expand the movie buff's interests as well as seeing that there is more to classic film than what comes from Hollywood.

Thoughts? I've also added a handy-dandy poll to "scientifically" determine if more foreign film on TCM is a popular idea.