Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival
Thursday 20th – Sunday 23rd September
See the BFMAF website.
BFS will be sponsoring one of the Festival’s films which is showing on Friday 21 September, at 7.15pm.
Turkey / Germany, 2013. 2h 2min. Dir: Reha Erdem. Cast: Deniz Hasgüler. Language: Turkish, Kurdish, with English subtitles. Cert. 15 (advisory).
This Turkish film from 2013 tells the story of a young woman who wants to escape from the fighting between armed rebels and the army and so leaves the hideout cave to make her way through the mountains to the city, where she hopes she can find more normality. On her journey, she meets and connects with the wild animals and appreciates the peace of nature. The challenge is whether she can attain her goal of finding refuge from the human conflict. Jîn is a slow-burn adventure, a work of visual beauty.
Admission to Jîn is free to BFS subscribers. The film will be shown in The Maltings Cinema, as part of the Festival’s Screening the Forest theme.
Tuesday 30 October 2018 at 7.30pm
France 2017 (UK release 2018). 1hr 33min. Dir: Xavier Legrand. Cast: Léa Drucker, Denis Ménochet, Thomas Gioria. Language: French with English subtitles. Awards: 6 wins, 10 nominations. Cert. 15. Original title: Jusqu’à la garde.
Whilst a custody battle over a child has been visited before on film, what singles out this gripping view of a fragmented family is the naturalistic acting and directorial intuition, fleshing out the very real dilemmas and pitfalls of the situation.
Miriam is wary of trusting ex-husband Antoine, despite his assurances. Is he now deserving of the chance to be a dad to his boy again? The journey faced is hazardous as tensions build, recede, repeat.
This impactful first feature from director and screenwriter Legrand combines perception with nail-biting suspense. Authentically it conveys the taut impasse of a relationship with a toxic history and, at its crux, the need to feel safe with no simple path to achieving it.
Note: contains one scene of strong threat
“While the word ‘exciting’ doesn’t feel right for such a tough drama, it’s certainly perfect as a description of Legrand’s debut as a feature-length director and original screenplay author” Fionnuala Hallligan, Screen Daily
“It’s stripped down, no-nonsense filmmaking of a high order and marks Legrand out as a director to watch” Alistair Harkness, The Scotsman
Tuesday 20 November 2018 at 7.30pm
Lost in Paris
France 2016. 1hr 23min. Dir: Fiona Gordon, Dominique Abel. Cast: Fiona Gordon, Dominique Abel, Emmanuelle Riva. Language: French with English subtitles. Awards: 3 wins, 1 nomination. Cert. 12A. Original title: Paris pieds nus
Peppered liberally by the crazily-choreographed antics with which they are fondly identified, director / actor / screenwriter duo Fiona Gordon and Dominique Abel (The Fairy) transport themselves to the city of love. She, a small-town librarian in search of a missing older relative; he an enterprising vagrant, combing the city for his next draught-free pitstop. Inevitably their paths cross and in a hectic tangle of limbs, their two lives become embroiled in a non-stop, whimsical adventure.
Starring as the delightful straying aunt, the late actor Emmanuelle Riva plays here her finale, aged 87. Her debut performance was in the classic Hiroshima mon amour (1959) and more recently, the Oscar-winning Amour (2012).
“With its visually stylish sight gags and broad physical comedy, Lost in Paris blends the whimsy of Wes Anderson with the inventive slapstick of Jacques Tati” Pat Padua, Washington Post
“…pure of vision, an ambitious accomplishment and undeniably sweet” Alex Godfrey, Time Out
“A charming mix of antiquity, modernity, humour and visual ambition” Joe Boden, Little White Lies
Tuesday 4 December 2018 at 7.30pm
Israel / France 2016 (UK release 2017). 1hr 43min. Dir: Maysaloun Hamoud. Cast: Mouna Hawa, Sanah Jammelieh, Shaden Kanboura. Language: Hebrew, Arabic with English subtitles. Awards:14 wins,15 nominations. Cert. 15. Origiinal title: Bar Bahar
Bolstered by friendship and mutual support, three young Palestinian women sharing a flat in the heart of Tel Aviv persevere to create the lives they want, within the constraints of a patriarchal society. Individually, they have different goals and priorities (including fun and parties), but are united by the tightrope they walk between conforming to family / social traditions and faith, and pursuing their individual choices.
Mixing experienced actors with first timers, the narrative exposes what is at stake. This bittersweet directorial debut has resulted in a compassionate, intelligent film which reflects the real dilemmas many women face daily in the context of political / social tensions within a society where going against the grain can only happen behind closed doors.
Note: Contains strong language and one scene of sexual violation.
“Balancing tragicomic relationship blues with sharp sociopolitical observation, Hamoud’s slyly subversive drama draws us deep into an often hidden world” Mark Kermode, The Observer
“A brave film befitting its brave depiction of women” Tara Brady, The Irish Times
Tuesday 8 January 2019 at 7.30pm
France 2016 (UK release 2017). 1hr 31min. Dir: Thomas Kruithof. Cast: François Cluzet, Denis Podalydès, Alba Rohrwacher. Language: French with English subtitles. Cert. 15. Original title: La Mécanique de l’ombre
In this furtive low-key thriller, the ubiquitous François Cluzet (Untouchable, Tell No-one) plays a burnt-out man, Duval, with a
troubled past, now desperately seeking regular employment and eager to start life afresh.
Approached casually with a job offer to transcribe recorded phone conversations, Duval relishes the prospect of easy money and a structure to his life which has been elusive. Provided with a sparsely furnished workspace and specific instructions, he embraces the task at hand. However, rather than contributing to national security as he had supposed, he begins to sense something else may be going on and finds himself immersed in a deadly game of manipulation.
An atmospheric little chiller, not at all far-fetched amidst today’s political skullduggery.
“Assiduously controlled and impeccably played, this cunningly convoluted thriller keeps both the protagonist and the viewer guessing until the slickly cynical climax” David Parker, Empire Magazine
“Scribe is not just a classic genre piece, but also a very topical fable of the little man caught up in the workings of unseen global powers” Sue Harris, Sight & Sound
Tuesday 29 January 2019 at 7.30pm
Sweden / Germany / France / Denmark 2017 (UK release 2018). 2hr 31min. Dir: Ruben Őstlund. Cast: Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss, Dominic West. Language: Swedish, Danish with English subtitles. Awards: 27 wins & 38 nominations. Cert. 15.
This mocking satire on the grandiosity of the contemporary art world and complacency of the privileged classes, spins social observation into squirm-inducing scenarios, memorable incidents and out-of-control performance art. You could well find yourself smirking and wincing in the same moment!
The director-curator of a prestigious modern art museum is caught out when an innovative installation, the square, becomes the scene of a seemingly real incident. A stream of episodes follow which are in turn cringingly amusing, jaw-droppingly bizarre and smartly on the button.
Winner of the Goya award for Best European film 2017, The Square is a knife-sharp parody on pretentiousness but above all a clever comment on humanity’s foibles, stabbing provocatively at social hypocrisy through a series of superbly punchy vignettes.
“Supremely fresh, witty and thought-provoking” Geoff Andrew, Time Out
“…a sharp and skilful dissection of bourgeois hypocrisies that resonates all too uncomfortably” Raphael Abraham, Financial Times
Tuesday 19 February 2019 at 7.30pm
France 2017. 1hr 29min. Dirs: Agnès Varda, JR. Language: French with English subtitles. Awards: 33 wins, 32 nominations including an Oscar for best documentary 2018. Cert. 12A. Original title: Visages Villages
Agnès Varda is an unusual French filmmaker with nothing to prove yet spades of indefatigable motivation. An adventuress with her own unique style, she recently turned ninety and remains an inspiration. Here, she joins forces with French street artist / photographer JR. Together they explore the rural byways of France in their head-turning camera-style van, taking photos of the people they meet on the road and transforming village walls in delightful ways.
It’s simply a joy to be carried along with their joint project, as living dialogue blends with still images to form works of art which resonate with ordinary people. The maestra’s natural rapport with her muralist co-creator has resulted in a solid friendship based on humour, ease and mutual respect that is altogether charming to witness. Come with us on this marvellous tour-de-force journey!
“The film works just fine as an anthology of amiable encounters and improvised collaborations. But it’s a lot more than that” A.O.Scott, New York Times
“Varda and JR truly are irresistible creative explorers, with infectious curiosity and chemistry that fizzes with charm and warmth” Katherine McLaughlin, The List
Tuesday 12 March 2019 at 7.30pm
In the Fade
Germany 2017 (UK release 2018). 1hr 46min. Dir: Fatih Akin. Cast: Diane Kruger, Denis Moschitto, Numan Acar. Language: German, Greek, Turkish with English subtitles. 14 wins including Golden Globe and 17 nominations. Cert. 18. Original title: Aus dem Nichts
This tense, politically-charged thriller turns the tables on what we’ve become accustomed to hearing and seeing in the media.
A Kurdish ex-prisoner turned straight marries a free-spirited German woman and once settled, they raise a child in a loving relationship. Their stability is shattered by an event which holds huge repercussions, including a highly-charged court case.
Through exposing nationalist reaction to multiculturalism and a flawed justice system, such a story of deeply felt primal retribution would not be so human were it not for the visceral performance of Diane Kruger in this demanding lead role, for which she received Best Actress award at Cannes Film Festival.
Note: Contains scenes of drug use, strong imagery and graphic verbal description
“In the Fade is made with skill and precision, both on technical terms and in its performances. Diane Kruger is a marvel, effortlessly portraying a range of emotions, never giving in to sentimental touches, never flinching from her character’s behavior” Daniel Eagan, Film Journal International
Tuesday 26 March 2019 at 7.30pm
US 2017 (UK release 2018). 1hr 44min. Director: Chloé Zhao. Cast: Brady, Tim and Lily Jandreau. Language: English. Awards:13 wins, 13 nominations. Cert. 15.
Having suffered an almost fatal head injury, a cowboy in South Dakota is advised to give up his passion as a rodeo competitor. But it has become his identity and livelihood.
An authentic docu-drama based on a true story and set in the vast landscapes of the dusty Dakota plains, this is as much a contemporary elegy for the Western as it is about the strong bond that exists between a cowboy and his horse. Performed by genuine rodeo riders and their families alongside professional actors results in a tangible sense of reality, with the lead role played by the tenacious young man on whose life story this film is based.
Note: Includes scenes of rodeo riding/training, injuries to riders and horse. Frequent strong language
“The Rider reinvigorates tropes from the western genre of men, horses, honour codes and vast expanses of nature with a refreshing lack of sentimentality, without sacrificing their inherent lyricism and poetry” Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
“…a very impressive, very accomplished film” Peter Bradshaw, The Observer
Tuesday 16 April 2019 at 7.30pm
Sweden / UK / USA 2017. 1hr 40 min. Dir: Björn Runge. Cast: Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce, Christian Slater. Language: English. Cert. 15.
A charming, loyal and supportive wife (Glenn Close) had her own ambitions and talent as a young woman, but these were quickly shelved in favour of growing her husband’s career as an universally-recognised writer. Given their forty-year marriage has been built upon unequal sacrifice and huge compromise, the cracks are starting to show. But when he is up for the ultimate international literary award, will he be too busy basking in his own greatness to notice?
This film, adapted by Jane Anderson from the sassy novel by Meg Wolitzer, provides a perfect vehicle for two venerated actor veterans. Here, they expertly interpret roles in which their expressions and interactions are at the very forefront of the close-focus narrative. Amusing, poignant and affecting, savour this tale of self-discovery and the premise that it’s never too late to start over.
“It’s a smart, supremely watchable and entertaining film, and [Glenn] Close gives a wonderful star turn” Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Tuesday 21 May 2019 at 7.30pm
The Eagle Huntress
Mongolia / UK / US 2016. 1hr 27min. Dir: Otto Bell. Cast: Aisholpan Nurgaiv, Rys Nurgaiv, Daisy Ridley | Language: Kazakh with English subtitles | Awards: 9 wins, 19 nominations including BAFTA. Cert. U.
Hunting with eagles is a tribal male tradition which goes back 2,000 years in Kazakh nomadic communities. Here is the true story of a young girl’s quest to become the first female huntress in twelve generations of her family. First, she must capture a fledging eagle, train it to hunt, compete with her adult male rivals and finally return the bird to the wild, to continue the circle of life.
Riding across the rugged landscapes of Mongolia, this young girl and her father face temperatures of minus forty degrees and precarious territory. Her ambition is strong and she must prove herself, in order to quiet the doubters and pursue her dreams. With stunning cinematography, this is an inspiring and uplifting tale of a trailblazing young woman’s resilience and determination.
Note: Contains two scenes of animal slaughter
“The Eagle Huntress is a remarkable documentary, one that combines superb National Geographic-style photography with a storyline that plays out like a real-life folk tale…” Geoffrey Macnab, The Independent