(Translations : Sylvie Vanston et Patricia Brochier)
For the complete programme of events, consult the British Screen web site or Festival programme for the sites and timings of the various events.
400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare
Shakespeare in animated films
A presentation by Alexis Hunot
Friday 11th, 2 pm (schools) and 6 pm (general public) – Bibliothèques Carré d’Art – Salle de conferences (-1)
The works of Shakespeare in animated films: To be or Not to be animated … could that be the question?
An illustrated conference, by Alexis Hunot, journalist, critic, lecturer, and activist of film animation.
“Apart from a few texts which have been adapted, re-adapted and “over-adapted”, hardly any major literary works have been treated through animation. However, from adaptation to quotation, you will see here that, picture after picture, films have truly appropriated Shakespeare’s writings. From Jiri Trnka and Barry Purves to Georges Dunning, we will stroll through different genres, styles and techniques, discovering another facet of Shakespeare but also, and more importantly, a wider insight into the world of animated films.” Alexis Hunot
Shakespeare in the silent cinema
A musical creation, written and performed by Virgile Goller and Florian Doidy – Subtitles by British Screen
Tuesday 8th, 8.30 pm, Théâtre Liger
Seeking cultural respectability at a time when films were mainly regarded as a fairground attraction, British (and other) film producers strove very early on to adapt Shakespeare’s plays. This gave rise, all over the world, to countless numbers of short movies inspired by the Bard. Their brevity meant of course the plot was reduced to the minimum and the themes were sometimes simplified to the point of caricature
Another obstacle, and not the least: in a silent film, what becomes of the rich and torrential beauty of the Shakespearian tongue?
And yet sometimes, a poetic emotion shines through the naïve special effects and colourised celluloids, worthy of some Méliès’s films. The British Film Institute, a steadfast partner of British Screen, has put all its expertise in their restoration.
Six of these pieces will be screened, accompanied by original music created by our regular partners, the concert film musicians Virgile Goller and Florian Doidy, who will perform in turn to reveal the candid or moving poetry of these revived films.
The Angelic Conversation
A Derek Jarman film (UK, 1985, 77 min., English with French sub-titles)
Subtitles by British Screen, Original translation of Shakespeare’s Sonnets by Luz Aflallo
Design: Bruno Geslin, Reciter: Olivier Normand, Musical composition and performance: Benjamin Garnier, Alexandre Le Hong
Thursday 10th, 20.15 pm, Théâtre Christian Liger, in partnership with the Théâtre de Nîmes
“A dream world, a world of magic and ritual, yet there are images there of the burning cars and radar systems, which remind you there is a price to be paid in order to gain this dream in the face of a world of violence.” This is how Derek Jarman describes his cinematographic essay entitled The Angelic Conversation, a juxtaposition of images recounting the love encounter of two men while exploring landscapes and elements. The soundtrack alternates a reading of 14 Shakespeare’s Sonnets with musical pieces.
Although in the initial version, the sonnets were read by Judi Dench, and most of the musical track was by the group Coil, it is a different presentation that is proposed here, through an original creation. Indeed, British Screen associated with the Théâtre de Nîmes for this concert-film performance created by an actor and two musicians, who will take over the reading and musical composition. A unique opportunity to revisit a major component of Shakespeare’s works and of Derek Jarman’s productions, in a rare and stimulating manner.
British Cinema Film News
By Joseph Bull and Luke Seomore (UK, 2014, 86 min.), screenplay by John Bull, Luke Seomore and Ben Young, with Barry Ward, Francis Magee, Keith McErlan, Hayley Squires, Chloe Pirrie, Jimmy Akingbola
Preview, Sunday 6th, 9 pm, Sémaphore, in the presence of Barry Ward
Adam (Barry Ward) has severed all links with his family and has gradually become marginalised and homeless, ever since food and mouth disease decimated his father’s cattle and destroyed the family farm. One day, he receives an ultimatum from his brother, who is going to become a father: if he does not come and see his nephew, the ties will be definitively cut between them.
Adam then embarks on this last-chance journey, last chance to reconnect with his family, last chance to escape from a destructive past that broke him, which we discover through haunting flashbacks. This is one of the issues raised by the film: how to survive a past which threatens at any moment to swallow and suffocate us?
Blood cells is a tense road movie, sometimes verging on surrealism, exploring the margins of British society and viewing with a lucid and compassionate eye those ghostly figures in its midst, people who seem to tiptoe through life. Yet this is not a miserablist movie, it is profoundly human, magnificently filmed and sustained by outstanding performers. Barry Ward, revealed by Ken Loach’s Jimmy’s Hall, which he came to present in Nîmes, is an impressive Adam. He has kindly accepted to come back to Nîmes to introduce this film which he very much likes.
Burn, Burn, Burn
Director : Chanya Button (UK, 2015, 106 mn)
Starring : Laura Carmichael, Chloe Pirrie, Dan Farthing, Joe Dempsie…
Seph, Alex and Dan were inseparable until Dan died. To honour his last wishes, Seph and Alex, take to the road, to scatter his ashes in various places around Britain. Dan is with them in the glove box and through video messages in which he gives step by step directions and explains what these places have meant to him. Not something to laugh about? Wrong! Don’t forget that inimitable British talent for black humour.
This road movie is sometimes tragic, often hilarious. It is a treasure hunt for these two clueless, almost thirty year olds, a journey of discovery of others and especially of oneself. Charlie Covell, the writer, was won the BAFTA for, Best Newcomer of the 2015, the British Academy of Television Arts and Cinema .
Director : John Goldschmidt (UK, 94 mn, 2015)
Starring : Jonathan Pryce, Malachi Kirby, Pauline Collins, Philip Davis…
Nat (the amazing Jonathan Pryce) is a grumpy old Jewish East End Baker, who against all odds, his son and the relentless competition of the nearby supermarket, strives to stem the steady decline of his kosher bakery and traditional lifestyle. When the famous supermarket steals his only employee, he decides to take on an apprentice, the son of his housekeeper, a young Muslim immigrant from Darfur and, moreover, a cannabis dealer in miniature. A classic sitcom : the diametrically opposed characters who against all the odds, will learn to appreciate their differences.
Dough, is well-suited to these times. It is a feel-good movie with the leitmotif that there is no harm in doing good. This warm comedy speaks of friendship, loyalty, the difficulty of living together, the need to overcome prejudices, that salvation can come from where we least expect it and, Magic Muffins!
By Jack Gavin (UK, 2015, 87 min.), with Peter Mullan, Keith Allen, Natalie Gavin
Tuesday 8th, 4 pm, Sémaphore
Every year, come what may, Hector goes to London to celebrate the New Year. Nothing could stop him going to meet his homeless friends on that occasion. He therefore starts on a long walking journey from Scotland to the capital city. Sensing that this might be his last trip, Hector takes side roads and tries to cling to his past and what he has left behind. On the way, he meets some self-absorbed people, but also good people, who give him a lift, offer him a meal or a shelter for the night.
This is a first production for its director and, in the tradition of British social cinema, it is a success. Peter Mullan again brings all his sensitiveness into the rendering of a difficult situation, and sustains with talent a film which never falls into the pathetic or lachrymose, and speaks of decency and dignity.
Director : Paul Mercer (Irlande, 2015, 95 mn),
Starring : Barry Ward, Ruth Bradley, Liam Cunningham, Owen Roe, David Pearse, Brendan Gleeson.
Once upon a time, there was a princess who sang in the forest until she was hoarse. Her father was a King that everybody feared but nobody loved and he was very angry. They love Fionn, his captain of the guard, because he protects them from their enemies. Wherever Fionn went, so did Diarmuid, his best warrior. And it so happened that Diarmuid and Graiine, the daughter of King … To know what happened next, you must see Pursuit. This famous Irish legend, has been freely adapted by Paul Mercer. Thus, the forest has become the hot district of Dublin and the King, the head of the local underworld. Pursuit deals with contemporary myths, the quest for power, social recognition, love and the chance to start over. Both thriller and breath-taking road movie, Pursuit is a modern fairy story that tells of love, betrayal, revenge and the quest for a better life in pursuit of a broken dream.
Love and Friendship
Director : Whit Stillman (US/Irelande/France/Netherlands, 2016, 92 mn),
Starring : Kate Beckinsale, Chloe Sevigny, Xavier Samuel, Emma Greenwell, Tom Bennett, Stephen Fry.
This romantic comedy is based on a little known novel written by Jane Austen when she was 15 years old. The film tells the story of Lady Susan Vernon who, victim of rumours about her ‘private’ life, decides to find a husband not only for herself but also for her daughter. Love and Friendship, is a pleasure for eyes and ears. It was shot in Ireland, where despite a limited budget, Whit Stillman makes the most of the decoration of the eighteenth century mansions. The charming costumes and exquisite furniture are beautifully highlighted by the bright decor. The soundtrack by Benjamin Esdraffo is a dream, so good one could listen with one’s eyes shut which would be a pity considering the visual quality of the work. The scenario of Love and Friendship provides the perfect harmony between Stillman’s absurdist wit, Jane Austen’s period manners and Beckinsale’s vibrant, rhythmic hysterical performance. It’s the perfect movie for lovers.
Director : Danny Boyle (UK/USA, 2015, 122mn),
Starring : Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, Katherine Waterston…
After a career studded with great successes such as Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle tackles the digital revolution through the personality of Steve Jobs, as it appears in his biography. The strong casting, has led to Oscar nominations for the two leading actors incuding the Best Actress Award, 2016. The unconventional screenplay, of Aaron Sorkin, covers three periods that correspond to the three products launched by Jobs. This approach opens up exciting possibilities in character study.
Director : Antoine Bardou-Jacquet (UK, 2016, 107 mn),
Starring : Ron Perlman, Rupert Grint, Robert Sheehan
« Tom Kidman, one of the top CIA agents, returns from Vietnam in 1969. He is immediately sent to London on a mission; to meet Stanley Kubrick and convince him to film a fake moon landing in case the Apollo 11 mission fails. Kidman can not find Kubrick, but happens upon Johnny, the useless manager of a hippie rock group » (Allociné). The excellent actors lead us through their hillarious adventures with aplomb. The clever script is full of film references and inuendos to Anglo-American rivalry. A most enjoyable comedy !
Couple In A Hole
Director : Tom Geens (UK, 2016,105mn)
Starring : Paul Higgins, Kate Dickie, Jérôme Kircher…
When we meet the Scottish couple, John and Karen, they are living in a hole in the heart of the Pyrenees where their simple lifestyle is devoid of modernity. John spends his days foraging for food, while Karen stays in their cave, stitching furs together. Their life has a firm structure and they need no one else to survive. But when Karen suffers a spider bite, John is forced to find help. He rushes to the nearby village where a local farmer provides him with medication. This small gesture opens up a dialogue and starts to reveal the reason why John and Karen are living in this bizarre manner. With the help of brilliant actors, director Tom Geens paints a sharp psychological profile of a traumatized couple. The film won three major awards at the Dinard Festival : Golden Hitchcock , Hitchcock for Best Screenplay and public Hitchcock and received an enthusiastic reception from critics .
Deliverance (restored version)
Director : John Boorman (USA, 1972, 110 mn)
Starring : Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatly, Ronny Cox.
Four friends, three peaceful businessmen from Atlanta and a macho muscleman, decide to spend their weekend canoeing down a rushing river in northern Georgia, at the foot of the Appalachains. A new dam is being built and soon the river and its valley will disappear under a lake. The expedition is designed to be their homage to this wilderness, before it is disfigured and condemned by man. They do not know what they are getting into: a journey into hell, where the myth of an idyllic, relaxing, friendly wilderness, very popular in the years of flower-power, takes a serious blow, as did Rousseau’s myth of the noble savage. Deliverance, yes, but with what outcome and from what and to whom? This masterpiece of John Boorman, a cult film that marked the collective unconscious of an era, is back, better than ever, in this beautifully restored version. To see and see again.
By Terence Davies (UK, 2015, 135 min.), screenplay by Terence Davies after Lewis Grassic Gibbon, with Peter Mullan, Agyness Deyn, Jack Greenlees, Kevin Guthrie, Ian Pirie
Preview, Sunday 13th, 6 pm, Sémaphore, in the presence of the producer, Roy Boulter
During the 2003 Cannes Festival, UGC officially announced its intention to participate in a project to produce a cinematographic version of the novel Sunset Song, the first part of the trilogy A Scots Quair, by Scottish novelist Lewis Grassic Gibbon, with Terence Davies as director. However, after much dithering, the British Film Council refused to become involved, totally freezing the shooting, which was to start in 2003. It was only 10 years later, with a new producer, Hurricane Films, that the project could be launched! By then Davies had chosen Agyness Deyn and Peter Mullan for the two leading parts… Lewis Grassic Gibbon is the pseudonym of James L. Mitchell, born in 1901 in Scotland. During his brief career, he successfully published under his two names, alternating political polemics with novels inspired by the Scotland of his childhood, including the trilogy A Scots Quair. Davies had been very keen on the project for some time already. He also realised that it was quite a challenge. To many readers it is a cult book, and as is always the case with cult works, an adaptation may shock, hurting the strong representation they have maintained of the novel, written as it was in an original language strongly influenced the local dialect of the Mearns county where the story takes place.
As a matter of fact, Davies himself defines this Scottish novel as a ‘rhapsodic’ opus, probably with the same meaning as Baudelaire when he used this word in his Artificial Paradises to define “a train of thought suggested and ordered by the external world and by chance circumstance”, but also Franz Listz, composer of the Hungarian Rhapsodies, to whom the word depicted the expression of particular moods in which the ideal of a nation is epitomised. This convergence coincides with the way Terence Davies, the music lover, conceives film work. He throws himself “with enthusiasm” in a book “suffused with a lyrical melancholy” which he compares to “a quiet threnody for the mystery of life”. A metaphor which, again, says a lot about his aesthetical interests, and the symbiosis which he makes his own, between literature and music.
The novel is a peasants’ saga at the start of the 20th century, centering on a family, the Guthries, and one heroine in particular, Chris Guthrie, who will identify with this rugged land and will end up symbolising the unyielding courage of those who strive to extract from it some meagre subsistence. Badly shaken by life, by the rough conditions of existence, by the accumulated sufferings, she succeeds in emerging from all this with the discovery of an intellectual life foreign to her native background. Torn between her dreams, born of the glimpse of a more comfortable elsewhere, and her loyalty to the environment in which she grew up, nurturing under the appearance of vulnerability an exceptional nature and a formidable resilience, this heroine raises obvious resonances in Terence Davies. For example, the death of the father, a brutal man, hardened by many ordeals, is first welcomed by Chris as a liberation, but the ambivalence of her feelings towards him surges back painfully at his funeral, reminding us of similar scenes in Distant Voices, Still Lives.
Wallace and Gromit: the curse of the Were-rabbit
Animated movie by Nick Park and Steve Box (UK, 2005, 85 min., in French) produced by the Aardman Animations studios
Saturday 12th, 11 am, Sémaphore, introduced by Alexis Hunot
An intense “vegetarian fever” pervades Wallace and Gromit’s small town and the ingenious pair has seized the opportunity of this fad to invent a humane and ecological pesticide, which spares the life of rabbits… A few days before the Great Annual Vegetables Competition, their business has never been so flourishing, and everything would be for the best in the best of all possible worlds if a malevolent creature had not suddenly appeared to attack the sacrosanct vegetable gardens of the town…
With its parodic references to Fantasy classics (werewolf films, mad scientist theme, King Kong), The Curse of the Were-rabbit is the first feature-length movie staging the famous plasticine characters Wallace and Gromit. « Making a 30-minute Wallace & Gromit movie is time-consuming and requires a lot of patience and care”. “Making an 85-minute feature is like making the Great Wall of China with matchsticks! It was five years of solid work, because every tiny, little thing matters so much. But I think the biggest challenge of taking these characters from 30 minutes to 85 minutes was finding the story. »
By Lenny Abrahamson (Ireland, Canada, 2015, 117 min.) with Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen
Previously acclaimed by critics for Garage in 2007, Lenny Abrahamson strikes again with this new film. It is an adaptation of the best-selling book by Emma Donoghue (also the author of the screenplay) inspired by several cases of abduction and relating the story of Jack, 5 years old, and his mother, Ma, confined in their room. Ma will try everything to give her son a new chance and a new life. Brie Larson’s poignant performance has already won her a Golden Globe, and the film is nominated for the Oscars in the Best picture, Best director, Best adapted screenplay and Best actress categories!