The vivid passion spilling out of Wuthering Heights led Victorian readers to assume it to be written by a man. The true author wasn’t revealed until Emily Bronte published a later edition under her own name. She has left future fans of her extraordinary only novel to ponder how the house-bound spinster daughter of an Anglican priest became acquainted with such sexual frenzy. Taking poetic license in how little is known of this particular Bronte, the biopic supplies Emily with an obliging lover who unearths her naked lust. Frances O’Connor — an Australian actress known for Mansfield Park– makes a thrillingly assured debut as director and writer. The film flashes back to the early years when the sisters delight in stories they tell each other. But the focus remains mainly on Emily, revealed in Emma Mackey’s riveting performance to be the oddest of her siblings. Through O’ Connor’s camera the big landscape of the Yorkshire Moors looks appropriately forbidding while also inviting you in. Entire sequences are played almost silently, contributing to a lasting eerie feeling not unlike a Bronte novel.
Chronicle movie critic Mick LaSalle has named Emily on his list of Movies to Watch Out For in 2023.
UK 2023 (130 minutes)
5:30 PM Reception – Presidio Kebab – 3277 Sacramento Street
Frances O’Connor will introduce her film in a Zoom interview.
7:30 PM Emily
Sponsor: British Consulate General San Francisco
This film was apparently inspired by a true story, adding to the delight of Valerie Buhagiar’s latest somewhat quirky film. But who needs plot logic? Set in Malta in the 1980s, a sparkling backdrop, Natascha McElhone (The Crown) gives a wonderful performance as a 50-yearold woman who escapes her dreary life looking after her older brother when he enters the priesthood – the tradition in Malta. When the autocratic priest dies, abandoned by the church with no home or means of support, she manages to secretly masquerade as the village’s new priest, giving somewhat wayward advice from the confession booth. Things take off from there as she begins a new life. Enjoy!
Canada/Malta 2021 (87 minutes)
What is British cinema? Cinema made in Britain, that takes place in Britain, produced by British companies or rooted in British culture? Celebrated British filmmakers ponder this question, launching the impressive new Brit Box series Reel Britannia – an informative, rich four-part series on five decades of British cinema starting with the Swinging 60s. Comedian Nick Helm narrates (from writer/director Jon Spira’s script), guiding us through commentaries from filmmakers, Stephen Frears, Ken Loach, Richard Attenborough, Terence Davies, Mike Leigh, etc with wonderful humor and acerbic quips. Set against societal shifts, we are treated to film clips capturing those faces we have known and loved over the years and who have made British cinema shine. Cinephiles are in for a treat!
UK 2022 (120 minutes)
This is a breakout role for James Norton, a mainstay of British detective series like Happy Valley and Grantchester. He plays a real-life conman who recruits vulnerable women by posing as an undercover M15 agent, supplying this diligently crafted thriller with a romantic and vengeful twist. The lines between rakish spy and dashing lover are blurred in his early entreaties to his victims as he presents an airtight cover story, an almost too-perfect alibi. Gemma Arterton is at her gleaming best as Alice– a would-be recruit who catches herself before stumbling down the rabbit hole.
UK 2022 (115 minutes)
Sponsor: Gerry and Fran Schall
When Brian ( Paul Mescal, Normal People) suddenly returns
home to a small Irish fishing village after unexplained years
away, a happy reunion with his mother Aileen (Emily Watson,
Breaking the Waves; Gosford Park) quickly spirals into chaos,
as he is accused of a terrible crime committed years past.
Directors Saela Davis and Anna Rose Holmer open their film
with an exploration into the relationship between mother and
son. But a tense crime drama unfurls, as Aileen lies for her
son, before slowly embarking on a journey to uncover the
truth. Viewing her son in a new light, she ultimately tests her
own sense of right and wrong. Is he the innocent child she
Ireland/UK/US 2022 (100 minutes)
This is a complex and tender debut feature from Scottish writerdirector Charlotte Wells. Eleven-year-old Sophie (Frankie Corio) and her father, Calum (Paul Mescal)) are on vacation in a Turkish resort, lazing by the pool, playing games, eating in the hotel buffet and enjoying being together. Terrific performances from them both! Slowly, a shadow emerges conveying that this is time remembered: it is 20 years ago before smart phones and camcorders, before grief and loss become inscribed in Sophie’s memories of her father through haunting, fragmented flashbacks that never offer a complete picture. Aftersun fascinates in its exploration of memory, with feelings of loss and love resurfacing over and again. It resonates with us all. Winner of seven British Independent Film awards including Best Picture, Winner Best First Film from New York Film Critics.
Paul Mescal nominated for Best Actor Academy Award for Aftersun
UK 2022 (96 minutes)
Remember mini-skirts and PVC macs, colored tights and make-up — all prune-colored and putty? This was the legacy of Mary Quant, who Sadie Frost celebrates in her vibrant documentary about the fashion icon of the swinging 60s, with her Vidal Sassoon bob and clothing designs that liberated young women from the staid, form-fitting 1950s look. Frost invites Quant’s celebrity friends, Kinks guitarist Dave Davies, Kate Moss, Vivienne Westwood and more to weigh in on this fabulous story of a seemingly reticent person who transformed the world of fashion. Interested in fashion or not, you will love this film.
UK 2021 (86 minutes)
The Thorn Birds remains one of the most-highly rated miniseries in TV history. Even more impressive the show has lost none of its grip 40 years after it first captivated audiences with its saga of forbidden love between a Roman Catholic priest and an impressionable young scion of a sheep farm family in the 1920s Australian Outback. You’ll see its power to captivate watching extensive excerpts from the series during our tribute to The Thorn Birds 40th anniversary. Stars Richard Chamberlain, Rachel Ward and Bryan Brown will come together on Zoom to talk about making the series.
Australia 1983 (90 minutes)
Sponsor: Australian Consulate General San Francisco
This meditative and heartfelt documentary expresses the yearning felt for the Isle of Berneray in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides by those born there who eventually moved away. Interwoven with found footage of the island from the 1950s and ‘60s are interviews with locals who left. “Berneray has been part of me all my life, it’s where my heart is,” one expat confides. The focus on small town life is sweet and charming, capturing a bygone way of life. In Gaelic with English subtitles.
UK/ Screen Scotland 2022 (88 minutes)
Sponsor: Bruce Lymburn
In the original short story on which this frontier movie is based the wife isn’t even named. She’s a remote figure waiting for the return of her sheep drover-husband in 1893 Australia. Reconceptualized by Aussie playwright Leah Purcell the saga now has a feminist bent. Adapting her popular play to the screen, the wife has stepped out of the shadow, her name emblazoned in the title. Purcell appears as Molly, a heavily pregnant frontier wife struggling in the Snowy Mountain ranges, a gaggle of kids at her heels and no husband in sight.
The drama intensifies when an indigenous man wanders onto her property and is revealed to be wanted for murder. A vibrant addition to the history of the Australian western.
Australia 2021 (109 minutes)
Sponsor: Austrialian Consulate General San Francisco