04/10/2019 Inclusion and Representation – LFF Day 3
Only two films in and we’re already two for two, with the BFI London Film Festival delivering challenging and stimulating cinema. Not dissimilar to Clemency’s effect, Rose Plays Julie made for complex, provocative viewing that leaves a lot to unpack – right up my street. Both also have women at the helm in the director’s chair, focusing primarily on female characters too. At the programme launch for LFF last month, it was galvanising to see such a concerted effort made for inclusion and representation across the lineup of films at the festival. These are the stories and voices I want to see on screen.
When settling in to watch last night’s screening of Rose Plays Julie, it was great to overhear fellow audience members and realise a large make-up of the audience were Irish (I assume also there to support a local production). Like being back home! During the Q&A it became apparent a lot of the film’s crew were in attendance as audience members, adding to the experience, given the palpable excitement and nerves they must have felt at the film’s first ever public screening.
The film itself, from directorial duo Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor, is a clinical and eerie examination of the search for one’s identity, in the wake of devastating truths and unearthed past trauma. Very deliberate pacing and a carefully calibrated tone – through a suitably imposing score and cold cinematography – come together to create an unsettling mood that doesn’t let up. Transfixing central performances from Ann Skelly (watch this space, she’s going places) and Orla Brady only add to the compelling narrative as it slowly, insidiously unfolds.
Next up tonight is a South American film that has stirred up huge buzz on the festival circuit and been picked up already for distribution by Picturehouse Entertainment here in the UK: Monos. After that, two back-to-back four-film days on Saturday and Sunday. Getting into the thick of the LFF experience now…