London Film Festival: NEW BRITISH CINEMA
The Times bfi London Film Festival will kick off on Wednesday October 19 in true star-studded fashion with Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz expected to attend the Opening Night Gala of the much anticipated The Constant Gardener. Big name stars and directors are all part of what makes the magic of this festival, and any other for that matter. But, there is also the opportunity for punters to catch a star in the rising as large numbers of first time film talent from across the globe show their wares. Flying the flag for the Brits are a great bundle of films which can be seen in this year’s New British Cinema strand…
Rediscovering one’s life; cultural identity; racial tensions; rites of passage and challenging prejudices make up some of the themes from this year’s British offerings. These films are strong on narrative and style, and prove categorically that British filmmakers still hold their own when it comes to pushing the boundaries to bring some of the most thought-provoking, challenging and inventive films to our screens. The New British Cinema line-up are all are highly recommended must-sees at the fest!
UNKNOWN WHITE MALE (pictured), is filmmaker Rupert Murray’s documentary about a man who as a result of amnesia, has had 37 years of memory wiped. The film is also notable because the filmmakers, unable to find a distributor, decided to distribute it themselves. It's the first feature to come out the Shooting People stable, an organisation already well known for actively promoting discussion of the UK filmmaking scene, and getting shorts seen. This is their first foray into distribution. BLACK SUN focuses on Hugues de Montalembert whose life was changed forever when he was blinded in an acid attack. The film is a lyrical meditation on how he rebuilt his life. Racial tensions in the north is the subject of Dominic Savage’s LOVE + HATE, a timely film which also questions what it is to be Muslim in today’s Britain. Kim Longinotto returns to the festival with SISTER IN LAW, an uplifting documentary about the legal system in Cameroon. Some of the cases are harrowing, but Longinotto reminds with a light touch that justice can and must prevail for the good of a society.
Religious and sibling boundaries are crossed in Josh Appignanesi's daring debut feature SONG OF SONGS. Following the critical praise she received in Pawel Pawlikowski's My Summer of Love (2004), actress Natalie Press plays Ruth, who while nursing her dying mother, attempts to reconcile her estranged brother with her before she dies. This is one of the many Jewish films in the festival tackling the nature of Judaism from a fresh perspective. 16 Years Of Alcohol (2004) director Richard Jobson wows his audience with a film that meshes love with scientific babble in A WOMAN IN WINTER. Described as a digital experiment, this low-budget feature boasts some mind-blowing images in what is at its heart a love story. It stars Susan Lynch and Brian Cox.
Who killed Rolling Stone Brian Jones? No one knows, but Stephen Woolley’s debut feature STONED gives its take on the events. Based on Terry Rawlings' book Who Killed Christopher Robin? if you like your rock ‘n roll mysteries, seek this out. Dave McKean’s MIRRORMASK creatively blends live action and digital animation in a rites of passage tale about a 15 year old circus performer who falls asleep and enters a nightmarish dreamworld. Her mission, to find the 'Mirrormask'. And director Perry Ogden gets up-close with a traveller community in Dublin in his debut feature PAVEE LACKEEN. The film breaks barriers in that it attempts to bring its audience closer to a community often at the butt end of intolerance and poverty.
MIRRORMASK and PAVEE LACKEEN are also up for the Sutherland Trophy Award which is given to a director for a first feature that is high on originality and creativity. Last year’s recipient was Jonathan Caouette’s TARNATION.
For more info on UNKNOWN WHITE MALE visit: