Saturday, 24 March 2018

Flare 2: Party and protest

The British Film Institute's 32nd Flare is off and running, heading into its first weekend with a flurry of film programmes, special events and club nights. One of the best things about this festival is that the filmmakers mix very freely with the press and audiences, so there's a chance for real conversation about both the movies and the issues that are being raised in them. I'm planning to see quite a few short films over the weekend - always a highlight. And here are some features, including the special presentation film 120 BPM (pictured above)...

120 BPM (Beats Per Minute)
dir Robin Campillo; with Nahuel Perez Biscayart, Arnaud Valois 17/Fr ****.
There's a striking realism to this epic drama about Aids activists in early 1990s Paris. Filmmaker Robin Campillo sometimes seems too ambitious for his own good, indulging in the intense debates between protesters, but the film's core is a tender love story that's powerfully moving. And it highlights the struggle these men and women went through to gain attention for their cause, saving millions of lives in the process... FULL REVIEW >

Uncle David 2
dir Gary Reich; with David Hoyle, Archie Redford 18/UK ***.
In this sequel to his offbeat 2010 black comedy, performance artist David Hoyle basically takes a flamethrower to civilised society, railing against and lampooning superficial values, but always of course with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek. The film has a loose warmth to it that draws the audience in, fully aware that we're going to get badly burnt. No, it's not for the faint-hearted.

Love, Scott
dir-scr Laura Marie Wayne; with Scott Jones, Sherise Jones 18/Can ****
Canadian filmmaker Laura Marie Wayne puts her close friend Scott Jones at the centre of this intimate documentary, exploring some very big issues from a darkly personal angle. The film has an often dreamy feel to it, exploring thoughts and emotions as it quietly retraces a momentous series of events that started out horrifically but have become a movement for positive change.

The Wound
dir John Trengove; with Nakhane Toure, Bongile Mantsa 17/SA ****
This finely observed drama from South Africa is produced with sometimes startling honesty as it depicts ukwaluka, the Xhosa rite of passage into manhood. The film is a bracing depiction of a tribal tradition in modern times, packed with vivid characters who are grappling with a range of big questions. What emerges is a striking depiction of masculinity that transcends cultures... FULL REVIEW >

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