Running time: 117 mins
Release Date: 21st April 2017
Director: Lone Scherfig
Cast: Sam Claflin, Gemma Arterton, Jack Huston, Bill Nighy
Based on Lissa Evans’ novel, ‘Their Finest Hour and a Half’. 1940, London, the Blitz; with the country’s morale at stake, Catrin (Gemma Arterton), an untried screenwriter, and a makeshift cast and crew, work under fire to make a film to lift the nation’s flagging spirits; and inspire America to join the war. Partnered alongside fellow screenwriter, Buckley (Sam Claflin) and eccentric actor Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy), the trio set off to make a film that will warm the hearts of the nation and capture the imagination of the American population.
I thoroughly enjoyed this romantic war-time comedy. Just looking at the images from the film brings back the rollercoaster of emotions, from Buckley’s lingering looks, to Catrin’s sadness. I try to avoid films that are based around war, but I am so glad I didn’t miss this one. It’s not so much about the hardship and drudge of war, but more about getting on with life in difficult circumstances. Do not miss this one. Take tissues.
BFI Flare Film Festival is back for 2017. Opening with, Against The Law on Thursday 16th March. Our selection of films to look out for are listed below, and include Oscar winning Moonlight, hotly debated in our Oggscars recording. Set in Miami, the film follows Chiron from childhood to adulthood. Beautifully portrayed, it is a must see.
Also at the festival catch the new UK web series, Different For Girls, a smart, sassy, sexy multi-layered lesbian drama, directed by award-winning Festival alumni Campbell X.
Danny Glover appears in San Francisco-set black comedy, Pushing Dead, as boss to Dan, who is facing losing his HIV drugs after 20 years of keeping it at bay.
Uganda is back in the spotlight at the festival with, The Pearl of Africa. This unified six-part web-series follows Uganda’s first out transgender woman, Cleopatra Kambugu from home to Kenya and then Thailand.
We managed to see Jewel’s Catch One at the 60th London Film Festival. It is a celebration of Jewel Thais Williams, owner of the legendary Catch One bar – one of Los Angeles first gay venues. Covering Jewel’s journey from purchasing the bar, fighting through discrimination, and personal challenges. Jewel managed to create a disco bar that welcomed every one, including stars like Madonna.
Plus Brazillian film, Waiting for B, a kitschy, light-hearted and thoroughly camp portrayal of pop culture, mega fandom and the adoration of Beyoncé.
The festival runs for 11 days, and closes on the 26th March with a gala screening of, Signature Move.
Different for Girls | Fri17
A smart, sexy new lesbian drama web series from the award-winning director Campbell X.
Waiting for B | Fri 17 / Sat 18
A crew of queer young Brazilian camp out two months in advance of Beyonce’s big show. One for superfans of the beyhive.
Moonlight | Fri 17/ Sat 18 / Sat 25
The Oscar winning, much-anticipated feature in which a young boy growing up in a harsh environment learns what it means to love and be loved.
Jewel’s Catch One | Fri 17 / Sat 19
This is the story of how Jewel rose from humble origins to create one of the most inclusive, radical and star-studded LGBT discos in America.
The Pearl of Africa | Sun 19 / Mon 20 / Fri 24
After suffering persecution from Uganda’s government and media, Cleopatra journeys to Thailand to get surgery and finally live freely with her boyfriend Nelson.
Free CeCe! | Tue 21 / Wed 22
Laverne Cox leads this insightful documentary into the case of Cece McDonald, whose infamous case sparked protests around the world.
Can’t Stop the Music | Thur 23 [BFI IMAX, Waterloo]
A monument to camp with the Village People and some of the most dazzling musical numbers ever committed to celluloid.
Being 17 (Quand On A 17 Ans) | Thur 23 / Fri 24
Set in the French Alps, this beautiful and emotional coming of age tale has two boys in their last year at school coming to terms with their emotions.
Body Electric (Corpo Elétrico) | Thur 23/ Sat 25
A lively Brazilian drama set in a garment factory: young manager Elias finds distraction in some of his fellow workers, but is he getting too close?
The Trans List | Thu 23 / Sun 26
Famous faces abound in this new HBO production from Timothy Greenfield-Sanders celebrating trans luminaries.
Pushing Dead | Sat 25 / Sun 26
Delightful comedy set in San Francisco, in which an HIV-positive slacker/writer battles with life, meds and friends.
Pride? | Sat 25 / Sun 26
A warm and intelligent survey that examines the history of Pride, its radical off-shoots, like Black Pride, and what the future of queer organising will be.
Sat 18 / Sun 19 | Transcendent Tales – Bold and beautiful fictional shorts from first inklings to years after transition.
Diane From the Moon
Mya Taylor plays a pagan priestess who takes no prisoners.
Sun 19 / Wed 22 | Shadow and Act – Stylish shorts that compel you to know yourself, live freely and speak the truth to power.
A beautiful letter about migration, identity and love from a young Ghanaian man to his family.
Hattie Goes Cruising
An ageing African-American couple give a how-to on cruising and what it was like being young, queer and pretty in 1970s and 1980s New York.
A young migrant from Guadeloupe on the French vogue scene cares for his younger brother who is getting ready for his first ball. *Watch Free on #BFIPlayer or YouTube as part of #FiveFilms4Freedom
I am a Woman
The politics of gender, identity and race are explored in this short and energetic spoken word piece.
Bayard and Me
Civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, the organisational genius behind the 1963 March on Washington, is remembered by his younger partner.
When a sexy chat becomes an intense exchange on race, politics and war, two strangers find out how much they can accept in each other and in themselves.
Thur 23 | The Permanent Perception – The queer experience, both real and imagined. A collection of experimental short films, showcasing the best in contemporary artists’ film and video.
LGBT histories through a TV sitcom lens.
Generation Divide II
More politics and canned laughter.
Sat 25 / Sun 26 | Falling Free – An inspiring and varied collection of queer tales, showcasing our most exciting home-grown filmmaking talent.
We Love Moses
Twelve-year-old Ella discovers a secret about her brother’s best mate.
Sat 25 / Sun 26 | Trials and Liberations – Personal stories of transgender and non-binary experiences from around the globe.
Places of Fear and hatred (Lugares de Medo e Ódio)
Five diverse Brazilians speak out on surviving prejudice and violence.
Sat 25 / Sun 26 | Something to Remember – The unknowable path to self-discovery can take many an unexpected turn, as the young men in these poignant and accomplished short films are soon to discover.
A boxer finds his world turned upside down by the arrival of a new fighter at his club.
*Watch Free on #BFIPlayer or YouTube as part of #FiveFilms4Freedom
Running time: 84 mins
Release Date: 30th September 2016
Director & Writer: Babak Anvari
Cast: Narges Rashidi, Avin Manshadi, Bobby Naderi, Ray Haratian, Hamidreza Djavdan and Soussan Farrokhnia
Tehran, 1988: the Iran-Iraq war rumbles into its eighth year. The bombing campaigns focused on the city, coupled with the country’s bloody revolution, slowly tear a mother and daughter apart. As they struggle to stay together in the midst of these modern terrors, a mysterious evil stalks through their apartment, threatening their grip on reality.
Under the Shadow is mainly set in a block of flats in Tehran during the Iran–Iraq War. The background is one of never-ending war, with Iraq having begun its ‘strategic bombing’ campaign of Iranian cities. It effectively depicts a beleaguered and tired civilian population, largely through a strained family relationship.
The film is subtle and restrained for its first hour. Its focus is on the character of Shideh, a woman forced to abandon her medical studies after the Cultural Revolution and now finding it impossible to take them up again in a country that has become deeply socially conservative. Constrained, frustrated and virtually confined to her flat at the start of the film, her physical isolation increases as the film progresses. She is nevertheless a determined, capable character.
Her daughter Dorsa is a strong-minded character too, and is ably portrayed in her childish single-mindedness. As the nexus of strange events start to coalesce around Dorsa, an atmosphere of strangeness and malevolence, nightmare and fever, starts to build. The scares are carefully rationed and instead Under the Shadow depends on mood. The film’s ‘monster’, built up by hints and allusions, is startling and original when it finally does appear.