There's nothing like sitting down to a wonderful British film that sweeps you up in sheer brilliance, with nothing but the direction, cinematic magnificence and powerful performances to hold it up under scrutiny. British films somehow grab your attention in their own majestic way with no need for a lot of whizz-bang.
The 2017 Cunard British Film Festival is going to give you that chance, to sit through a spread of British cinematic delights. From sweeping romances and beloved book adaptations, to intriguing music documentaries and pulse racing thrillers, films will feature a variety of British cinema royalty, and the next wave of upcoming British talent that'll light up our screens. Festival dates are as follows. If you're not gone out and grabbed yourself a hardcopy of the festival program, CLICK HERE for the PDF online version.
The opening night film Breathe, stars Andrew Garfield and Clair Foy in Andy Serkis' feature directorial debut of the inspiring true story of Robin Cavendish and his wife Diana, who refuse to give up in the face of a devastating illness. Produced in partnership with Robin and Diana's son John Cavendish, this is not just a beautiful love story, but a film about two spirits who defied the odds and turned their tragedy into something positive by paving the way for change.
Andrew Garfield (Spiderman) has gone from strength to strength in his return to some good solid films that stretches and challenges his performances. If he's anything but as brilliant as in his role for 'Hacksaw Ridge', we're on a winner. Claire Foy from 'The Crown', is a tour de force and a worthy other half in her starring role in this 117min long biography/drama. Opening night events complete with nibbles and entertainment tend to be a sellout, so be sure to get in early.
The closing night film Finding Your Feet certainly looks like a riot of a good time. The actors starring in this film are whom I'd class as British acting royalty without a doubt. Imelda Staunton, Celia Imrie and Timothy Spall are a hard combination to beat, with a list of amazing films that showcases their acting prowess, in their repertoire. Enjoying a world premiere, this 111min long comedy also sports the darling of the small and big screen, Joanna Lumley.
Filled with grand, old British charm, this feel-good film has 'Lady' Sandra Abbott put to shame when she discovers her husband of 40 years is having an affair with her best friend. Escaping to her estranged, older sister Bif, who is outspoken, a serial-dater and a free-spirit, middle-class, snobbish and judgemental Sandra is like a fish out of water in an inner-city council estate. This film is a nod to the ode that it's never too late to start again, and retirement may just be in fact, only the beginning. Again, get booking, as closing nights are always a little bit special with their drinks and live entertainment to see the festival out.
Manolo: The boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards is yet another special event enjoying its Australian premiere. A 90min long doco/biography, it's a must-see in-depth portrait of famous, legendary, luxury shoemaker/designer Manolo Blahnik. It's the Manolo's that Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the City would give her right arm for. Get to know the humble and camera-shy man behind the iconic brand in this funny, charming and immensely watchable doco. Today, at 74, he still retains full control; creating every shoe, down to even hand-carving the wooden forms himself.
From special events, to official selections, there's a nostalgic look at Agatha Christie's classic mysteries from the Queen of Crime in the form of films like Death on the Nile; Evil under the Sun; Murder on the Orient Express and The Mirror Crack'd. A couple of others that caught my eye were The Journey and Goodbye Christopher Robin. Timothy Spall and Colm Meaney ramp up the tensions when they come together as representatives in 'The Journey'; two warring factions meeting for negotiations. Ian Paisley (Spall) a conservative British loyalist and Martin McGuinness (Meaney)who devoted his life to the cause of Irish reunification, opposites in every way, duke it out to find common ground to bring peace in troubled times. This film is driven by two virtuoso central unforgettable performances.
Starring our very own Margot Robbie and the very likeable Domhnall Gleeson, 'Goodbye Christopher Robin' gives you a rare glimpse into the relationship between beloved children's author A.A. Milne and his son Christopher Robin, whose toys inspired the magical world of Winnie the Pooh. This is an emotional and poignant true story of the family behind one of literature's most endearing creations. With so much more on offer, be sure to scour the website and look out for updates on the Facebook page of the Festival. Most importantly, start booking and secure your seats!