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Thread: MOSTLY BRITISH FESTIVAL 2018 San Francisco

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    MOSTLY BRITISH FESTIVAL 2018 San Francisco



    MOSTLY BRITISH FESTIVAL 2018 San Francisco

    General Film Forum thread



    See the list of all films of the festival HERE.

    New titles to be covered in Filmleaf Festival Coverage:

    Mad to Be Normal (Robert Mullan 2017) Opening Night Film

    7:30 PM THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2018

    A Fanatic Heart: Geldof On Yeats (Gerry Hoban 2016)
    6:30 PM SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2018

    Allure (Carlos Sanchez, Jason Sanchez 2017)
    12:30 PM SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2018

    The Lodgers (Brian O'Malley 2017)
    9:30 PM SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2018
    The Mostly British Film Festival was created by Ruthe Stein and Jack Bair eight years ago to bring to Bay Area audiences the best in cinema from the UK, Ireland, Australia, India, New Zealand and South Africa. For many of our films this is the only opportunity to see them in a theater. We have shown local premieres of such films as 56 Up, Hunger, Red Riding Trilogy, Lunchbox and London River. The directors represented at the festival include John Boorman, Ken Loach and Mike Leigh and the actors are Colin Firth, Ewan McGregor, Cate Blanchett, Jim Broadbent and Charlotte Rampling, to name just some. Our guests of honor have been Malcolm McDowell, Minnie Driver, Michael York and Joel Edgerton.

    [Press Release]
    THE MOSTLY BRITISH FILM FESTIVAL RETURNS FEB.15 – 22, 2018
    TO THE HISTORIC VOGUE THEATRE IN SAN FRANCISCO FOR THE TENTH YEAR
    SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA.

    The Mostly British Film Festival heads into its tenth year with twenty-five new and classic feature films and documentaries from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, India and, for the first time, Canada. This mix of classics, dramas, thrillers, biopics and stories based on historical events offers something for every film lover.

    Mostly British opens February 15 with MAD TO BE NORMAL. The versatile David Tennant transitions from Dr. Who and "Broadchurch's" Alec Hardy, DI, to give a dazzling performance as Dr. RD Laing, the radical and controversial psychiatrist who became a 1960s counterculture hero for advocating for the mentally ill. The festival closes February 22 with JOURNEY’S END, a screen rendition of a play first performed onstage in 1928 in London. Director Saul Dibb’s stirring revival marks the WW1 centenary early next year. The film is timely, honoring the sacrifice demanded of so many, the dignity they demonstrated and ultimately the futility of war. Starring Paul Bettany, Sam Clafin and Tom Sturridge. Opening and closing night parties round out the evenings.

    The festival pays tribute to "Downton Abbey's" Joanne Froggatt when she visits February 16. A film clip of her career will be followed by an interview conducted by Jonathan Moscone, director of civic engagement at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and former artistic director of California Shakespeare Theater. A new American indie called A CROOKED SOMEBODY, starring the actress, tops the evening.

    Scotch whisky will be featured on screen and available to taste on February 17. Between showings of whisky-themed British films THE HIPPOPOTAMUS and WHISKY GALORE! the audience will be treated to a free tasting of top of the line scotch.

    A special series focusing on British New Wave Films of the 1960s on February 19th will feature ALFIE starring a debauched but dashing Michael Caine, DARLING with Julie Christie in her Oscar-winning role as a free spirit engaging in a series of shabby affairs and A TASTE OF HONEY—one of the first British movies to deal with all but taboo subjects at the time of sex, abortion, and homosexuality. The evening includes a tasting of Hendricks Gin—a British classic like these films.

    The festival’s Australian Spotlight is especially strong with screenings of SWEET COUNTRY, winner of the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Festival, GOLDSTONE, a mix of detective story and crime thriller set in the Outback, and THE DEATH AND LIFE OF OTTO BLOOM, a mock documentary about the title character, who lives in reverse time.

    The festival is held at the historic Vogue Theater in San Francisco, which at over 100 years, is one of the oldest movie theaters in the country. Purchased in 2007 by the San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation, the nonprofit seeks to save and preserve historic movie houses. Tickets and festival passes offering priority seating will be on sale early January at the Vogue or at mostlybritish.org, cinemasf.com or by calling 415-346-2274.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 02-13-2018 at 11:05 PM.

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    MAD TO BE NORMAL (Robert Mullan 2017)

    ROBERT MULLAN: MAD TO BE NORMAL (2017)


    DAVID TENNANT IN MAD TO BE NORMAL

    A film about RD Laing

    The naive young narrator of Edgar Allen Poe's hallucinatory short story "The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether" visits a French lunatic asylum and realizes only late in a grand banquet that the diners are the lunatics, dressed uneasily in the clothes of the staff. Something like that is evoked by Ashley Hall, the radical Scottish psychotherapist RD Laing's "safe haven" as shown in the film Mad to be Normal, where mental patients live in equality and amity with staff. Laing, whose books made him famous as a rock star in America and admired by college students on a par with Marx or Jefferson Airplane, argued that forms of so-called insanity were merely logical strategies for dealing with the insane conditions of the contemporary world. He forbade the use of tranquilizers or other prescription drugs at Ashley Hall but shared LSD with patients.

    Robert Mullan, who has made documentaries and features and written two books on Laing, provides an admiring, but also critical, picture of Laing but one that, due to limited budget and his inexperience as a director of feature films, comes off at times as as disappointingly patchy, with very limited treatment of Laing's theories. There are some good performances, beginning with a bold and sharp-edged one in the lead by David Tennant (of "Dr. Who" and Harry Potter). Tennant unleashes his native Scottish accent for the role, a heavier brogue than the actual Laing displays in filmed interviews. This movie RD Laing drinks, swears, and smokes up a storm, wears the signature paisley shirts, and attempts miracle cures that don't quite come off.

    Resident patients are well played by Gabriel Byrne and Michael Gambon; two others are well played by Jerome Holder and Olivia Poulet. An American grad student who becomes his girlfriend, Angie, is played with buoyancy and restrained glee by an excellent Elizabeth Moss, who puts us as much at ease here as she made us uncomfortable in Ruben Östlund's flashy but scattershot film The Square. However, these five good actors are all playing invented characters, and Ashley Hall seems underpopulated. Laing's son and biographer Adrian Laing was not amused. "'I don't recognise my father," he told BBC News after seeing the film. "The interior of Kingsley Hall bears no resemblance to its shambolic and faeces-strewn past," he added. He found the movie's finale a "cheap trick."

    A scene in an American institution shows the film's strengths and limitations. In it Tennant, as Laing, enters a padded cell to visit a young woman who's reportedly catatonic, won't speak, and has to be force-fed. Laing squats down beside her, undresses in imitation of her, smokes, chats, gives her an acupressure lesson, and gets her to whisper the name of her favorite pizza so they can order out: "pepperoni." Later the girl walks out of her cell with Laing, with the head of the hospital cursing his "unprofessional" behavior. It's not sure if this is any kind of victory. But it's still remarkable. And yet, something off in the staging and timing makes a sequence that ought to be spectacular wind up seeming a little anticlimactic.

    Mad to be Normal has one outstanding virtue: it makes one curious to learn more about RD Laing. And his son Adrian admitted he wasn't unbiased in his condemnation, because he's "in the development stage of a substantial RD Laing feature." That'll be another angle, at least.

    Mad to be Normal, 106 mins., had its premiere 26 Feb. 2017 in home territory of Glasgow, playing in seven other festivals, released and reviewed 6 Apr. 2017 in the UK. Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian called Tennant's performance "brilliant" and gave the movie four-out-of-five stars. There's a US theatrical debut 15 Feb. 2017 at opening night of the Mostly British Festival in San Francisco, and a US video premiere 16 Feb.


    THINGS GETTING A BIT WILD
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 02-10-2018 at 01:47 PM.

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    A FANATIC HEART: GELDORF ON YEATS (Gerry Hoban 2016)

    GERRY HOBAN: A FANATIC HEART: GELDORF ON YEATS (2016)
    [Festival blurb.]

    In this winning documentary, Irish singer, songwriter and political activist Sir Bob Geldof traces W.B. Yeats' life, from his earliest family trips to Sligo – which awakened a lifelong love of fairy tales and folklore – to international fame as the poet laureate of an emerging Ireland, to his Nobel Prize and role as Senator in the Irish Free State. Bringing his own infatuating passion to the subject, Sir Bob shows how Yeats led the way in imagining a new Ireland into being after the Famine and, after centuries of oppression, gave the people of Ireland back a story they could believe in – and fight for. A captivating tale of mythology, nation-building, insurgency and disillusion, the film is above all a story about how poetry and language can shape our world. Sting, Bono, Liam Neeson, Bill Nighy and Colin Farrell are among those who perform Yeats’ poems. Ireland 2016 (100 minutes)

    Onstage interview with filmmaker Sir Bob Geldof at 8:00 pm.

    6:30 PM
    SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2018

    Playing at: Vogue Theatre

    BUY TICKETS

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    ALLURE (Carlos, Jason Sanchez 2017)

    CARLOS AND JASON SANCHEZ: ALLURE (2017)


    EVAN RACHEL WOOD AND JULIA SARAH STONE IN ALLURE

    A 'cycle of abuse' story made in Montreal

    This is an awful movie, by which I don't mean it's terrible. It shows ability, certainly in the visuals - the filmmakers are photographers by trade. It's just extremely unpleasant, virtually excruciating, to watch. To sit through it you really should be locked into a room the way the poor sixteen-year-old Eva (Julia Sarah Stone) is locked in by Laura Drake (Evan Rachel Wood, another triple name). Laura is emotionally sick thirty-year-old. She cleans houses and does bookkeeping for her creepy father William (Denis O'Hare). These are the people we are stuck with for 100 minutes. The movie is the directorial debut of the brothers, Carlos and Jason Sanchez, of Montreal. This is a Canadian picture, though, as some Canadian critics have noted with displeasure, it's one that yet again uses Montreal to stand for some unspecified, generic, monolingual city instead of culturally rich Montreal.

    Laura was abused, and here we see how "the cycle of abuse" is repeated. Unfortunately, when people are hurt, they often react by later hurting others. Laura is also desperately in need of affection and knows no healthy way of finding it. This we see in the, typically, very unpleasant opening scene, a scene so repellent it's enough to cause walkouts. In this opener, Laura has an anonymous male sexual partner enter her room blindfolded for sex, and immediately begins berating him for not having an erection. Under these circumstances, who would? It's no surprise when this encounter, soon, but not soon enough, ends badly.

    It's on a housecleaning job that Laura discovers Eva, playing Bach magnificently, but not, we're told, enjoying it. We are led to believe that Eva's mother (Maxim Roy) forces Eva to do the Bach thing, but never gives her any encouragement. This somehow seems unconvincing. How could she play it this well if there were no joy in it for her? But we are shown the scene of a concert in which Eva solos playing Bach, but her mother tells her, "We both know you could have done better." Q.E.D.

    This is only part of Eva's unhappiness. She is more immediately disturbed about her mother moving them into the house of a new boyfriend she can't stand. This is when Laura returns to the house and finds Eva crying. They have previously bonded over a joint and a Nirvana poster. Now Laura offers Eva the opportunity to run away, which the unhappy Eva immediately agrees to do.

    As soon as Eva is at Laura's, she finds herself a prisoner, and tries to escape. But with a combination of weeping and tenderness and unhealthy emotional smothering that's excruciating to watch, Laura persuades Eva to accept her confinement, foisted upon her with the claim that they must be secret or Laura will go to jail.

    I find myself much in agreement with Jon Frolsch of Hollywood Reporter, reviewing the movie in the Discovery section at Toronto, on motivation. However miserable Eva is at the prospect of giving up the house she's grown up in, continuing under her mother's control while living with the disliked boyfriend, it's unlikely she'd give up her music, her education, and her security for a life of dope, alcohol, and hiding with an uncertain future with a furtive, unstable lesbian; the latter part of the relationship clearly doesn't appeal to her. It's also hard to see what would make this mousy, unhappy young girl attractive to the hip, beautiful, tightly wired Laura.

    Wood and Stone deliver fully committed performances nonetheless; their weepy, melodramatic scenes together have an ugly fascination, as they seem stuck and we, the viewers, feel stuck. As Laura's father, O'Hare gives a subtle performance that lets the ugly history seep out gradually. The Sanchez brothers show a visual sense and their dp Sara Mishara does good work, though there is too great a fondness for murkiness, even complete darkness. I must also agree with Frolsch's opening statement, that Allure "gives a pulpy lesbian-obsession thriller premise the full art house treatment. Warning: You may miss the pulp." By giving this heavy, borderline unbearable material realistic treatment, when from the outset the viewer wants to either laugh or bolt, the Sanchez brothers ask a lot of us.

    The movie has done well with critics, to go by Metacritic, which rates it 70% successful. However, some of the local Canadian reviewers, and others, have been less impressed. (See especially Kate Taylor of the Globe and Mail , or Norman Wilner of Now.) When Angelo Muredda of Cinema Scope calls this "dire," I must concede he's right. But maybe these guys will reset their course and produce something good next time.

    Allure (originally presented as A Worthy Companion), 105 mins., debuted at Toronto 10 Sept. 2017; a number of other festivals including Hamburg, Taipei and Palm Springs. Reviewed as part of the Mostly British festival in San Francisco February 2018.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 02-05-2018 at 08:05 PM.

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    THE LODGERS (Brian O'Malley 2017)

    BRIAN O'MALLEY: THE LODGERS (2017)

    [Festival blurb]
    Irish Night

    THE LODGERS
    This is a gothic ghost story about orphaned twins Edward and Rachel who share a crumbling manor in 1920s rural Ireland. Though isolated, they are not alone. They share the house with unseen entities that control them with three absolute rules: in bed with doors locked by midnight; never allow anyone across the threshold; never permanently leave the house. On the dawn of their 18th birthday, Rachel experiences a sexual awakening with a young Irishman returned from the war, and within him finds a kindred spirit – and the possibility of a life beyond the estate. As separate fates draw them apart, the twins must face the secrets they hold and the terrible truth about their ghostly tormentors. Ireland 2017 (92 minutes)

    9:30 PM
    SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2018

    Playing at: Vogue Theatre

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