Benny & Jolene
Borderlines Film Festival, supported by the BFI, runs 28 February to 16 March 2014.
A modern British road movie from debuting Welsh director Jamie Adams, Benny & Jolene stars Submarine’s Craig Roberts and Fresh Meat’s Charlotte Ritchie as a couple of young folk musicians who set off on a trip from Cardiff to Portmeirion in a dilapidated camper van in order to play at a music festival. A quirky tale of awkward romance, it was made for just £12,000 and was warmly received when it was unveiled at the London Comedy Film Festival (LOCO).
For Those in Peril
There’s the tang of salt air to a number of films at this year’s festival, including the Robert Redford survival drama All Is Lost, Paul Greengrass’s real-life piracy thriller Captain Phillips, and the dazzling Leviathan – an experimental documentary about deep sea fishermen. Paul Wright’s For Those in Peril is one of more evocative British directorial debuts in recent years: an impressionistic drama about loss, blame and the savage sea that’s been dubbed ‘Beasts of the Northern Wild’.
Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction
Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction trailer
Directed by Sophie Huber and shot in black and white by Seamus McGarvey, this documentary gets up close and personal with the great character actor Harry Dean Stanton, now 86 years old. The film includes clips of some of his most memorable films, including Alien (1979), Paris, Texas (1984) and Repo Man (1984), and interviews with the likes of David Lynch, Wim Wenders, Sam Shepard, Kris Kristofferson and Debbie Harry.
Winner of the Sutherland Award for Best First Feature at last year’s BFI London Film Festival, 29-year-old Anthony Chen’s Ilo Ilo charts the emotional and economic pressures experienced by a family of three living in Singapore during the 1997 Asian financial crisis. “I was born in the 80s and spent so much of my childhood in the 90s,” Chen told us during the LFF. “I wanted to make a very sincere and honest film about my childhood. And I wanted to create a very authentic version of that period.”
Like Father, like Son
With his quiet, beautifully observed portraits of family life and childhood, Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda has developed a reputation as heir apparent to the great Yasujiro Ozu. Still Walking (2008) and I Wish (2011) both went down a treat in previous years at Borderlines, so this year the programmers are putting on a three-film mini-season: After Life (1998), Nobody Knows (2004), and his latest film, Like Father, like Son, which The Daily Telegraph calls “a piercing, tender poem about the bittersweet ebb and flow of paternal love”.
Specially programmed by Francine Stock as a part of a mini-season dedicated to her French heroes, this archive double bill takes us back to la belle France in the pre-First World War years. With piano accompaniment from Neil Brand (presenter of the BBC’s The Sound of Cinema series), the programme celebrates the world of silent comedian Max Linder together with Fantômas, the master criminal who was the subject of a long-running adventure series in 1913.
Les Nuits de la pleine lune
French DVD label Potemkine caused a stir last year by releasing the complete films of Éric Rohmer as a 30-disc DVD/Blu-ray box set, but Borderlines’ French heroes strand presents a nice chance to see one of the director’s untouchable 1980s gems on the big screen. Les Nuits de la pleine lune (Full Moon in Paris) forms part of Rohmer’s six-film Comédies et Proverbes series and stars Pascale Ogier as a bored lover living in the Parisian suburbs who starts a double life in the city.
With About Elly (2009) and the Berlin prize-winning A Separation (2011), Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi has established himself as a master of subtly modulated moral dramas. His latest finds him filming in Paris and is the story of a man who arrives in the city from Tehran to divorce his fiery-tempered wife (Bérénice Bejo). No one in the world’s doing the emotional complications of family life better than Farhadi right now, so The Past is definitely one to look forward to.
A Story of Children and Film
Over a month before it’s released in cinemas, Borderlines is screening Mark Cousins’ shorter-form companion piece to his acclaimed series The Story of Film. With his customary passion and intelligence, Cousins here offers a history of kids in film, but – with the exception of Steven Spielberg’s E.T. (1982) – largely sidesteps more familiar titles in favour of international gems that deserve to be better known. A Story of Children and Film leaves you with a massive checklist of films to track down.
12 Years a Slave
With the planet expecting big things for Steve McQueen, who could become the first black winner of the best director award at this year’s Oscars, Borderlines offers no fewer than 18 screenings of this much feted drama. Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Solomon Northup, a free man tricked by mercenaries into a life of slavery in the American south.