Monday, February 23, 2015

16th Keswick Film Festival

Is this the event of the year in Keswick? From Thursday night to Sunday night we have the Keswick Film Festival. Now in its 16th year, there are around 30 films to look forward to, the Osprey Awards for local short films, TWO parties, guests and that wonderful atmosphere that film lovers generate together, especially in Keswick; what more can you ask for?!

Many of you will have the brochure, or it is available in the Alhambra, Tourist Information, Booths and the Theatre by the Lake so do get your copy and check out the amazing array of films on show. You can also check it out on our festival website. You can buy tickets for any film you want to see at £4 (members) or £5 if you haven’t joined yet. The pass is still great value - £35 for members or £45 for non-members gets you in to all films and the pass-holders party (on Friday this year).

The whole thing kicks off in the Alhambra at 6.30 on Thursday 26th February with a party for everyone – free drink and nibbles supplied! This is followed by the opening film from New Zealand – ‘The Dark Horse’. It is hard to pick out highlights, but let me try a couple: ‘Radiator’ on Friday afternoon has several locals involved and our guest star Gemma Jones will be answering questions after it. Saturday morning has our FREE FILM spot – ‘Into the Woods’ – and dont forget there are two films at Rheged again. We even have a late night horror movie on Saturday – ‘The Babadook’. Check the brochure or the festival website for details.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Manuscripts Don't Burn - Sunday 22nd February 5pm

With the shockwaves of the Charlie Hebdo killings still fresh, our film this week takes on the subject of censorship. Not by disaffected individuals but through the mechanism of the state and perhaps the more chilling for it. Manuscripts Don’t Burn was filmed clandestinely in Iran and one of the many critics (96% on Rotten Tomatoes) who applauded it was Godfrey Cheshire of

“Watching Mohammad Rasoulof’s riveting "Manuscripts Don’t Burn," easily the most daring and politically provocative film yet to emerge from Iran, I was reminded of something I heard when visiting that country to study its cinema in the late ‘90s. When I asked an Iranian cinephile the difference between Iran’s artistically vital but little known cinema of the 1970s and its successor, which captured the world’s attention following the 1979 Iranian Revolution, he smiled and said, "In the post-revolutionary cinema, there is no bad guy." Films before the Revolution often conveyed a pervasive sense of bitterness and discontent, a mood ultimately traceable to one paramount bad guy: the Shah.

With "Manuscripts Don’t Burn," though, the bad guy returns to Iranian cinema with a vengeance. Based on real historical events, Rasoulof’s drama focuses on two operatives assigned to terrorize, torture and murder dissident writers and intellectuals. These guys go about their dirty business but they are simply repression’s foot soldiers. Far more chilling is their superior, a young guy who works in an office, wears fashionable clothes, and seems to have no qualms about advancing his career by killing former friends.”

Monday, February 09, 2015

Concerning Violence - Sunday15th February 5pm

This Sunday we have the season's documentary - Concerning Violence. We are going through a time worldwide where documentaries are more and more popular. This does make it hard to choose though. This time we took the advice of the BFI's Sight and Sound magazine where this was chosen as one of the best 10 documentaries of the year.

Director Göran Olsson has edited old Swedish news footage to bring us this film about the liberation struggles in Africa, specifically the use of violence on both sides – the solutions and the problems it brings about. The title comes from a chapter in Franz Fanon’s book ‘The Wretched of the Earth’, which is the glue which binds this film together.  This is not going to be an easy ride, but it promises to make a thought-provoking session in the Alhambra and, no doubt, the discussions that will follow! The film is only 78 minutes long, so there will be plenty of time for these debates...

Monday, February 02, 2015

I Origins - Sunday 8th February 5pm

Our films thus far this season have all attracted huge acclaim from critics around the world and those views have been endorsed by the overwhelmingly positive feedback from the KFC audience. It’s fair to say that this week’s film I Origins has had a more equivocal set of reviews but nonetheless looks to be a fascinating offering.

Website 3AW says: In Mike Cahill's intriguing, surprising, idea-driven drama the disciplines of science grind up against the concept of God as two young genetic scientists, Ian and Karen (Michael Pitt and the ever-impressive Brit Marling), work towards inventing an eye.

The pair are determined to imbue a sightless worm with a rudimentary sense of vision, an enterprise that prompts Ian's attractive and deep-thinking girlfriend Sofi (Astrid Berges-Frisbey) to challenge the ethics of what they are doing.

It's the wily blending of opposing concepts - science vs faith; chance vs destiny; mortality vs spirituality - that gives considerable intellectual muscle to an unusual mix of mystery and love story.

FilmInk from Australia liked it too: The film is dramatic and the overall execution is complemented by vibrant cinematography and careful story writing. Set against a familiar urban backdrop, Cahill takes the audience on an intriguing visual journey through a world of blurring perception and serendipitous encounters.

The film lasts 106 minutes and audiences are warned that they need to go the full distance – the denouement comes at the very end of the closing credits.

So just put that impulse to rush to the exit and vote on hold for a moment!