Films from the UK, Ireland, Australia and South Africa
February 12 - February 22, 2015

Mostly British Film Festival 2014 Films

’71 ’71

’71

A young British soldier is accidentally abandoned by his unit following a terrifying riot on the streets of Belfast in 1971. The soldier must find his way to safety through a hostile, unfamiliar landscape where it is difficult to determine friend from foe. Jack O’Connell (“Unbroken” and “Starred Up”) brings the charisma of a young Albert Finney to the lead role. This is one of the most celebrated films of the year, nominated for nine British Independent Film Awards, more than any other film from the United Kingdom. UK 2014 (1:39)
“A nail biting, taut thriller with great control of action and pace and an outstanding re-creation of the west Belfast war zone.” The Guardian

“A nail biting, taut thriller with great control of action and pace and an outstanding re-creation of the west Belfast war zone.” The Guardian

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Starred Up Starred Up

Starred Up

Jack O’Connell (“Unbroken” and ‘71”) had his breakthrough role in this powerful prison drama that pits father against son. He stars as an explosively violent teenager transferred from a young offender’s institution to an adult prison. While facing the brutality of hardened cons, he is reunited with his long lost father (Ben Mendelsohn) incarcerated in the same place. Prison life is harsh, trust is scarce, violence abundant and relationships frail, but father and son, in their confrontational way, re-connect, albeit shortly. The savagery of the claustrophobic prison environment is broken by the odd moment of tenderness in a film that is tough but empathetic. Rupert Friend (“Homeland”) plays a volunteer prison counselor attempting to reach O’Connell. Starred Up earned eight British Independent Film Award nominations in 2013. UK 2013 (1:46)

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The Animal Condition The Animal Condition

The Animal Condition

This thoughtful documentary looks at three and a half years in recent Australia history when animal welfare grew from a fringe concern to a national focal point. Four young people take an investigative road trip through Australia, speaking to indigenous Australians, politicians, activists, philosophers and scientists. With each interview the perspective on the subject of animal welfare changes. Australia (2014,1:30)

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I, Anna I, Anna

I, Anna

This moody, downbeat noir stars Charlotte Rampling as the title character, a lonely and seductive divorcee who participates in speed-dating and takes strangers home with her. A debut feature from Rampling’s son, Barnaby Southcombe, the film co-stars Gabriel Byrne as a troubled detective attracted to Anna. At the heart of the mystery is the question: Is Anna a murderer? Filmed around the London Barbican complex where shadows and sinister forms continuously haunt this thriller. Another nice city touch is Anna’s job as a salesperson at London’s famous department store Peter Jones. Byrne and Rampling are in top form, and Hayley Atwell appears against type as Anna’s stressed single-mother daughter. From beginning to end, “I Anna” is an intriguing British thriller with a surprise and refreshingly-restrained ending. UK 2012 (1:33)

The film will be introduced by Peter Robinson.

From beginning to end, “I Anna” is an intriguing British thriller with a surprise and refreshingly-restrained ending.

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Our Man in Havana Our Man in Havana

Our Man in Havana

This sly black comedy boasts a screenplay by Graham Greene (based on his novel) and direction by Carol Reed. Alec Guinness plays James Wormold, a vacuum cleaner salesman in Havana. He’s getting by but needs more money to support his teenage daughter. So he is happy to be recruited as a spy for Britain by Noel Coward in a wily supporting role. Since James knows nothing of value, he makes up stories and invents plans, mentioning people supposedly involved. His masterpiece is his “discovery” of a giant military complex. The plans are actually diagrams of a vacuum cleaner. This witty take on British intelligence is a sharp-edged parody with a trick ending that has the distinct element of truth. With Burl Ives and Maureen O’Hara and set in pre-Castro Cuba. UK 1959 (1:43)

The film will be introduced by Peter Robinson.

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Evergreen Evergreen

Evergreen

Jessie Matthews was England’s Ginger Rogers–except she didn’t need Fred to complete her. Matthews danced and sang in her distinctive warbling voice through numerous British musicals of the 1930s. To get more of a feeling for what made her such a huge star, Mostly British presents a double feature of “Evergreen” and “First A Girl”

Matthews reprises the stage role that made her famous as a musical star of the Edwardian era. Attempting to hide her illegitimate baby girl, she feels threatened with exposure and moves to South Africa with her child. The girl grows up to want to be a performer like her mother. UK 1934 (1:34)

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First a Girl First a Girl

First a Girl

Jessie Matthews plays an ingénue getting nowhere with her musical stage ambitions. Through a complicated plot twist, she appears onstage as a man posing as a woman. This story inspired “Victor Victoria” starring Julie Andrews as the cross-dresser. UK 1935 (1:34)

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Hope and Glory Hope and Glory

Hope and Glory

With the Oscars just a few days away Mostly British pays tribute to a wondrous British film that was nominated for five Academy Awards in 1987, including Best Picture. “Hope and Glory” is based on director John Boorman’s experiences growing up in the London blitz during World War II. While terrifying to adults, bombs, rockets and tanks are an adrenaline rush for the boy in the film, who collects the still hot shrapnel in his garden in the way other youngsters gather butterflies. Raving about this film, Pauline Kael wrote “it’s hard to believe that a great comedy can be made of the blitz but John Boorman has done it.” UK 1987 (1:53)

After seeing this Boorman film you will certainly want to catch “Queen and Country,” which is a sequel with the same characters seven years later when the young Bill (Boorman’ alter ego) is drafted. “Queen” will be at the Opera Plaza and the Shattuck for a week starting February 27. Mostly British will co-present opening night at the Opera Plaza, which will feature a very special guest to be announced soon.

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Winnie Mandela Winnie Mandela

Winnie Mandela

During Nelson Mandela’s incarceration, his wife Winnie assumed his mantle, becoming known as the mother of South Africa. A new biopic about this remarkable woman, played by Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson (“Dreamgirls”), traces her rural roots through to her meeting Mandela (a regal Terrence Howard) and their realization that they are kindred spirits, committed to the struggle against apartheid laws. Hudson and Howard breathe life into this ultimate power couple. South Africa 2011 (1:44)

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Leslie Howard:  The Man Who Gave a Damn Leslie Howard:  The Man Who Gave a Damn

Leslie Howard: The Man Who Gave a Damn

Director Thomas Hamilton will introduce the film and afterwards discuss it with the audience in conversation with Ruthe Stein.

This fascinating documentary will be shown for the first time in the United States at the Mostly British Film Festival. With all the 75th anniversary celebrations surrounding “Gone with the Wind,” this documentary turns a spotlight on the neglected fourth star of that epic, Leslie Howard (1893-1943). Many confuse Howard with his “Gone with the Wind” performance as Ashley Wilkes – an indecisive man with outmoded ideals and too hide-bound to declare his feelings. Howard’s personal favorite character was the fop-by-day, rescuer-by-night he played so marvelously in the 1934 “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” and in many ways this parallels Leslie himself. For while he could seem detached and ambivalent – even otherworldly — there was another side to his persona: one that was willing to take risks for his beliefs. His insistence upon casting Humphrey Bogart in “The Petrified Forest” is well-known, as is his bold return to England at the beginning of WWII, when many feared Britain would fall to the Nazis. But these examples are just the tip of the iceberg, as filmmaker Thomas Hamilton reveals the quietly strong side of this “core of steel”, as described by director Michael Powell. UK 2014 (1:24)

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Human Traffic Human Traffic

Human Traffic

A cult film among young people in the UK, it tells the story of five friends who spend Friday night getting wasted in Cardiff, trying — without much luck — to escape their workday hang-ups and frustrations. Over the weekend, the friends deal with their relationships and personal demons. A sharp, character-driven study of the British club scene and 1990s youth culture, from Welsh filmmaker Justin Kerrigan. UK 1999 (1:39)

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The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands

The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands

This amazing British film of the silent era commemorates two decisive naval battles fought by the Royal Navy at the outbreak of WWI. It is an awe-inspiring reconstruction of naval warfare using British Admiralty battleships, shot mostly near Malta and the Isles of Sicily. Thousands died when these great battleships were sunk by the German squadron. Accompanied by a score performed by the Band of the Royal Marines, Walter Summers film was originally released in 1927 on Armistice Day in tribute to the terrible loss of life. It is newly restored by the British Film Institute. UK 1927 (1:47)

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A Field of Blood A Field of Blood

A Field of Blood

One unfortunate effect of Internet- dominated journalism is the demise of the old-fashioned newpaper movie, from “My Girl Friday” to “All the President’s Men.” Now along comes a series in their spirit set in the early 1980s when you could still hear the clicking of typewriter keys and a single reporter could break a story without multitudes horning in. The central character, Paddy, is a lowly copy boy at the Glasgow Daily News, but she has aspirations. Believing that the police have apprehended the wrong person in a child’s death, she bravely follows through on her own taking her to the darkest corners of Glasgow. Jayd Johnson won a BAFTA award for portraying Paddy. The cast also includes David Morrissey (“The Walking Dead”) and Peter Capaldi (“Doctor Who”). UK 2011 (1:58)

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Love Marriage in Kabul Love Marriage in Kabul

Love Marriage in Kabul

This powerful documentary follows an Australian-Afghan woman Mahboba Rawi who runs a charitable foundation, Mahboba’s Promise, to support and educate orphans and widows across Afghanistan. The film focuses on her quest to unite Abdul, a boy brought up in one of her orphanages, and Fatemeh, the girl he loves who lives next door. It is no easy task. Fatimeh’s father is relentless and will only release his daughter for a sizable dowry. This emotional human drama entangles us in the web of tradition and complexity surrounding marriage in Afghanistan and also offers us the stark, harsh conditions of life in Afghanistan today – especially for women. Winner of awards at Canberra International Film Festival and Sydney Film Festival.
Australia 2014 (1:25)

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Charlie’s Country Charlie’s Country

Charlie’s Country

Aboriginal elder Charlie (David Gulpilil) becomes disillusioned with modern community life and heads off into the bush to try living like his ancestors. After things don’t go well, Charlie assesses his life to find new ways to cope. Gulpilil (“Rabbit-Proof Fence” “Crocodile Dundee,” and “Walkabout”) won the Best Actor Award at the 2014 Cannes Festival for his performance. He co-wrote the film with producer Rolf De Heer creating this delightful social drama with moments of great humor. Australia 2013 (1:48)

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The Turning The Turning

The Turning

This film with its interlocking episodes resembles Robert Altman’s “Short Cuts,” based on Raymond Carver short stories. “The Turning” is an adaptation of 17 interlinking stories by bestselling Australian author Tim Winton. The cast is a who’s who of Aussie actors including Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Miranda Otto and Rose Byrne, who won the Australian Film Institute’s Best Actress award for her role. The plot weaves through turning points in the lives of locals in a seaside town as they form relationships, end them and see their lives skid off track. Blanchett appears in a segment adapted by her husband Andrew Upton. Besides standard dramatic episodes, “The Turning” also unfolds in the guise of an interpretive dance and an animated segment. Australia 2013 (3:00)

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Gold Gold

Gold

This bittersweet, quirky comedy is about an estranged father who returns to his hometown after an absence of twelve years in order to re-connect with his daughter and ex-wife and fulfill a request of his dying father. In doing so, he causes disaster and chaos wherever he goes, but in a sweet, well-intentioned way. A real indie gem from director Niall Heery, (“Small Engine Repair”) starring the delightful Maisie Williams, described as “the most promising talent to come out of Game of Thrones.” Ireland 2014 (1:28)

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Jimmy’s Hall Jimmy’s Hall

Jimmy’s Hall

Set during the tumultuous aftermath of Ireland’s 1922 Civil War, this is the true story of charismatic Irish Communist leader Jimmy Gralton, who dared to build a community hall in County Leitrim. The Catholic Church and political leaders were appalled that it was used for dancing and fun. The hall’s fate comes down to a duel between Gralton and a backward thinking parish priest. This new work from Mostly British favorite director Ken Loach (“Looking for Eric”) has been compared to The Quiet Man, Reds and Loach’s own Cannes prize winner The Wind That Shakes the Barley. Ireland 2014 (1:49)

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Standby Standby

Standby

This sweet- natured romantic comedy looks at what happens when an ex suddenly pops back into your life. At the Dublin airport, a distraught woman (Mad Men’s Jessica Paré) appears at a counter pleading for a flight home – although she is only on standby. The clerk (Brian Gleeson, son of the great Brendan Gleeson) happens to be a former love. They wind up roaming the streets of Dublin. Can one eventful night change their lives forever? Paré’s performance makes you forget her as Don Draper’s wife. Ireland 2014 (1:30)

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Still Life Still Life

Still Life

Eddie Marsan (“Happy-Go-Lucky” and “Ray Donovan”) stars in this haunting drama as a council social worker whose job is to find the next-of-kin when someone dies alone. Faced with being fired—or downsized, as the government puts it—he becomes determined to hunt down a relative on his final case. His painstaking detective work eventually unearths the dead man’s daughter played by Joanne Froggatt (“Downtown Abbey”). Director Uberto Pasolini (producer of “The Full Monty”) does a masterful job of portraying the integrity of this man whose days are spent among ghosts. One critic calls this memorable film “a unique contribution to British cinema.” UK 2013 (1:32)

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My Accomplice My Accomplice

My Accomplice

This special romantic comedy, set among the piers and promenades of Brighton, focuses on the relationship between a good-natured young Scot, a caretaker for adults with special needs, and an artistically-inclined immigrant from East Germany, working at a bakery. Just as their friendship is about to turn into something more, both have reasons for stalling. Irresistible performances from Alexandra Kalweit and rising Scottish actor Stuart Martin (a cross between James McAvoy and Hugh Jackman), make this unassuming romance a winner. The film features musical interludes from the hottest Brighton bands. UK 2014 (1:32)

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Bonobo Bonobo

Bonobo

A mother is appalled when her daughter leaves law school to live in a commune of hippie misfits who in accordance with the behavior principles of the Bonobo monkey, a species for its “make love not war” philosophy. The leader of the commune attempts to reconcile the conflicts between mother and daughter if the mother will spend time living with the group. Both mother and daughter are determined to prove each other wrong, but in the process there are breakthroughs and self revelations. Nominee for Best British Feature at the Raindance Film Festival. UK 2014 (1:23)

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Everyday Everyday

Everyday

The prolific British director Michael Winterbottom (“24 Hour Party People” and “Jude”) shot “Everyday” over five years in the style of Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood”, following one family and their struggle to survive when the father is imprisoned for smuggling drugs. His relationship with his four children, played by actual siblings, is deeply touching as is the strain felt by the mother, finding herself parenting alone. Commissioned by Film4, “Everyday’’ shines a harsh light on the prison system – through the struggles of the family outside. UK 2012 (1:46)

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Sneak Preview Sneak Preview

Sneak Preview

Take a chance on a Mostly British Sneak Preview and you will be alternately charmed and amused.  Look for lots of smart patter, sexual innuendo and plain old sex in this parody of a famous novel about adultery.

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Blood Blood

Blood

This film is a thriller charting the moral collapse of a police family. Two cop brothers, smothered by the shadow of their former police chief father, must investigate a crime they themselves have committed. Starring Paul Bettany (“A Beautiful Mind”), and directed by Nick Murphy, with Sam Mendes (“American Beauty,” “Skyfall”) as executive producer, atmospheric backdrops set this thriller apart from your average TV cop show. UK 2012 (1:32)

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Suspension of Disbelief Suspension of Disbelief

Suspension of Disbelief

The ever inventive Mike Figgis (“Leaving Las Vegas”) returns with an erotic thriller full of dizzying twists and turns. Sebastian Koch (“The Lives of Others”) stars as Martin, a successful screenwriter whose latest is about a woman who disappears, like his wife did fifteen years before. To make things kinkier, his daughter is to play the role. Martin leaves a party with a French temptress (Lotte Verbeek of the “Borgias” TV series) who is found dead in a canal next morning–leaving him with explaining to do, not only to the police but also to the woman’s identical twin sister. UK 2012 (1:52)

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The Riot Club The Riot Club

The Riot Club

Director Lone Scherfig came to Mostly British five years ago with “An Education.” Her follow-up film, “The Riot Club,” is a piercing examination of a secret society at Oxford that brings out the worst in its young members. To qualify, a student must be rich and white and lord it over everyone, armed with the sense of entitlement that comes from inherited wealth and position. In other words, they are insufferable. The story focuses on what happens when a new recruit to the society is attracted to a coed from modest means. The film, based on a play called “Posh,” barrels headlong into a shocking conclusion. UK 2014 (1:47)

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An Evening with Malcolm McDowell An Evening with Malcolm McDowell

An Evening with Malcolm McDowell

Century Club, 1355 Franklin Street, San Francisco
Discount Available for Mostly British Festival Passholders
Malcolm McDowell in conversation with Ruthe Stein

Malcolm McDowell is perhaps best known for “A Clockwork Orange.” Who can forget the poster of him looking both sinister and oddly jolly? But the range of McDowell’s more than four decade career is astonishing, encompassing different genres from time travel (“Time After Time”) to the future (“Star Trek Generations”). His long list of films includes “O Lucky Man,” “If,” “Aces High,” “The Passage” and “Get Crazy.” In a Mostly British special event, you will have a chance to hear McDowell, a noted raconteur, discuss his varied career, including working with icons Stanley Kubrick and Lindsay Anderson and talk about his memories of shooting in San Francisco.

The event takes place February 20 at the Century Club of California, 1355 Franklin Street in San Francisco. The Century Club is an elegant house done in classical architecture which was personally remodeled by Julia Morgan. A reception in the grand dining room begins the evening at 6pm, followed by a conversation with Malcolm McDowell in the upstairs screening room and a showing of “Time After Time.”

In “Time After Time” McDowell plays H.G. Wells as he pursues Jack the Ripper throughout Victorian England then, courtesy of a Time Machine through San Francisco circa 1979. The film was shot all over town, including Cow Hollow, California Academy of Sciences, Ghirardelli Square, Huntington Park and the Marina Green. USA 1979 (1:52)

Tickets: $30/$20

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If If

If

Malcolm McDowell plays one of the students at a private British boarding school who, with his buddies, may or may not be plotting a revolution. Controversial when it came out, it still packs a wallop especially the surrealistic effects put to use by director Lindsay Anderson. UK 1969 (1:15)

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Aces High Aces High

Aces High

In this strongly anti-war movie set during World War I, Malcolm McDowell plays a disillusioned squadron leader resisting indoctrination. The film sports an amazing cast including Christopher Plummer, Ray Milland and Trevor Howard. UK 1976 (1:34)

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A Clockwork Orange A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange

This classic Stanley Kubrick film stars Malcolm McDowell as a charismatic delinquent Alex DeLarge.  DeLarge is jailed and volunteers for an experimental aversion therapy developed by the British government in an effort to solve society’s crime problem – but not all goes according to plan.  A Clockwork Orange earned Academy Award and BAFTA nominations for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay.  UK 1972 (136 min.)

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