A cool blend of contemporary & retro culture

British Film Festival provides a snapshot of what’s been happening with our cousins overseas…

Presented by Palace and Luna Palace Cinemas, the British Film Festival will open on 10th November with a riotous reimagining of Noël Coward’s classic comedy Blithe Spirit starring Dan Stevens, Isla Fisher, Judi Dench and Leslie Mann.

Opening night receptions will be held at Palace Cinemas Raine Square, Luna Leederville, Luna on SX and Windsor Cinema.

The British Film Festival will once again celebrate the filmmakers, acting talent and stories from the British Isles with a program featuring 22 of the most anticipated films of the year – from powerful true stories and literary adaptations to biographies, comedies and documentaries. 

Look out for stand out films Misbehaviour, Starfish, The Nest and music documentary starring Ozzy Osborne: Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm.

My personal pick is Summerland, review below.

 

‘Summerland’ so much more than an historical love story set in wartime…

You could easily summise romantic drama Summerland as a historical war love story, but it is so much more. I was expecting a beautiful film exploring the taboo inter-racial female love between women during World War II, yet was enamoured with the heart-wrenching friendship between a young displaced boy dependent on his newly appointed spinster guardian, who doesn’t want him, rather chooses to be a writer in recluse. Gemma Arterton (also executive producer) is Alice – adopted mother figure to Frank, who is a keen researcher and writer of mythology and Paganism, living in solidarity in rural town, atop the stunning white cliffs of Dover.

Frank, an evacuee, is unexpectedly thrust upon her care, who is suffering from the forced separation from his parents whom are committed to professional war duties. It doesn’t take long before his endearing sweet innocence and imagination grips the cold brash heart of Alice unfolding a beautiful and magical relationship that equally benefits them both. Just as Alice softens with affection, shows signs of accepting Frank and even loving him as her own son, plot twists impacted by war torn London destabilise their little isolated home of Summerland heaven.

The film is so joyfully rewarding and gorgeously shot with narrative layers delving into pain, rejection, warmth, and belonging while seamlessly interweaving a narrative that reveals a past forbidden and forlorn love through suppressed flashback sequences.

The director, Jessica Swale, could have followed the cliched stereotype of taboo Lesbian love with two dimensional characters, particularly as one is Black African American. However she pursues the more raw and gritty realm of loneliness during war not just for females cast out by society’s inflicting prejudice but more important for abandoned or orphaned children.

Tragic victims of war that have to face a new reality with a new family of complete strangers, compelled by the government rather than desiring to be adoptive parents. Realising that untold stories of such anguished children have rarely been conveyed from their perspective, making this war historical drama more unique and resolved than most Hollywood formulaic adult tragi-romances.

Summerland is a viewing experience to be cherished for all the reasons we love film, the expansive stunning setting of seaside cliffs of Dover, the realsitic characters with depth. Performed by a cast that is award worthy and a timeless tale of interwoven love and loss, that delivers so much more than the trailer promises.

The British Film Festival presented by Palace in conjunction with Luna Palace runs from 10th to 29th November at Palace Raine Square, Luna on SX, Luna Leederville, and Windsor Cinema in Nedlands. 

Annette McCubbin


For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.britishfilmfestival.com.au.

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