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Summerland - Film Review (British Film Festival 2020)

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by Jonathon Tonkin (subscribe)
I'm a 26 year old male Senior Reporter for Weekend Notes. I Graduated from A Bachelor of Arts (Creative Writing and Communication) at UniSA in 2014. As well as writing for WN I have also done pieces for the Adelaide 36s and Mawson Lakes Living.
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A typical British drama held up by stellar acting
The French and Italian film festivals are celebrated for their culture and ideologies which are always intertwined within their art and language. However, it is good not to forget our own language and its birthplace in Britain. Britain and their filmmakers are their own breed. Forever exemplifying the high standards of filmmaking and storytelling like only Brits could do. Dark thrillers, outrageous comedies and deep dives into the depths of British culture. The British Film Festival demonstrates all the life and love that comes out of the heart of the Commonwealth.

To kick things off for the festival I was able to view the romantic period drama, Summerland. A film that's covers all the trends currently in British film. Period drama set in WWII, check. Located in a country town with plenty of idyllic landscapes, check. A romantic story of love and family, check. Summerland may hit all the same points you would expect with this genre, yet stellar acting and a unique twist are enough to hold this film up.

Summerland follows Alice Lamb (Gemma Arterton) a writer who specialises in the scientific study of myths and legends. The film is set in Kent in WWII. Lamb is an aloof recluse who does her best to distance herself from the rest of the town, simply wanting to be left alone. Her quiet life is suddenly interrupted when Frank (Lucas Bond), a London evacuee, is suddenly dropped at her doorstep. Lamb does her best to be cold and unwelcoming to the child but over time develops a bond with him as he helps with her studies into the Floating Island phenomena and the search for Summerland.

There are side plots and other story elements which seem detached but end up coming together for a satisfying ending. For a film set in WWII there isn't a huge amount of gravity in the film. There are trials here and there but for the most part, the characters seem to be going about their daily life quite easily. This kind of Slice of Life film is generally held up by it's acting and Arterton and Bond deliver on this in spades. The genuineness of their bond comes through the screen through the ups and downs and you can really feel their relationship develop over time.

Summerland is only one of a number of films that will be showing during the British Film Festival which starts on the 10th of November and goes until 29th of November. The festival is hosted by Palace Nova and will be screening at both their Adelaide and Prospect Cinemas. You can find more information here.
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When: 10th of Nov to 29th of Nov
Where: Palace Nova Cinemas
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